Coach Pleads No Contest In Connection With Steubenville Rape Case
STEUBENVILLE, Ohio (KDKA/AP) — A volunteer football coach in Steubenville has pleaded no contest today to charges that arose from the rape of a teenage girl.
Police say Matt Belardine’s house was the scene of a party that preceded the rape of the girl by two high school football players.The night of the attack, the then 24 years old Belardine was the only adult at home when his 17-year-old sister had a party attended by all students involved in the assault.
The attack was recorded and recounted in hundreds of cellphone pictures and text messages.
Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, both 16, were convicted as juveniles.
“I think it’s very unfortunate, the events that transpired that night – with the girl and everything,” says Belardine.
Belardine pleaded to one count of making a false statement and one count of enabling underage drinking.
He will serve 10 days in jail.
Special Judge Patricia Ann Cosgrove also sentenced Belardine to one year of supervision and 40 hours of community service. She also fined him $1,000.
His statements to the court were questioned by Judge Cosgrove.
“When you went down there and saw the beer pong and the hard liquor, (they were) drinking and shouldn’t be drinking,” she said, “so you have an obligation to do something. You didn’t do it — and you covered it up.”
Belardine told the judge that he’d lied to police because he was inexperienced and scared.
The judge responded, “You say that you’re sorry, but I don’t know if you’re really sorry. Maybe you’re sorry you got caught. You’re sorry you lied.”
Attorney general spokesman Dan Tierney says counts of obstructing official business and contributing to the delinquency of a child were dismissed.
His defense attorney, Dennia McNamara, says the jail time was not quite expected.
“Because the prosecution wasn’t seeking jail time he was a little surprised by it,” she said.
Superintendent Michael McVey also faces charges including obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence. A principal and a strength coach are also charged in the case.
Stay with KDKA for Mary Robb Jackson’s full report on this developing story.
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