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Steubenville coach sentenced for his part in high school football rape case

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In the still ongoing rape case that brought scandal and unwanted world-wide attention to the football town of Steubenville, Ohio, another trial was settled on April 22 as Matthew Belardine, 26, of Steubenville, pleaded guilty to charges of making a false statement and enabling underage drinking at the Aug. 11, 2012 party that went down in his home where a drunken, passed out 16-year-old girl was raped. Photos and videos of the girl being assaulted at Belardine’s home were uploaded to various social media sites depicting onlookers at the party doing nothing to stop the rape.

The coach got off easy in his sentencing. Originally charged with four criminal complaints, Belardine could have been sentenced to a max of one year and 265 days in jail. Instead, according to USA Today, charges of obstructing official business and contributing to the delinquency of a child were dropped. On his remaining two charges, the judge only sentenced him to 10 days in jail.

Belardine’s sentence also includes one year of supervision and 40 hours of community service. Special Judge Patricia Ann Cosgrove of Jefferson County also fined the coach $1,000.

The two ringleaders, both Steubenville High School football players, who raped that 16-year-old girl were tried and convicted last year. In March, 2013, following a four-day rape trial that took place in juvenile court, Judge Thomas Lipps found 17-year-old Trent Mays and 16-year-old Ma'Lik Richmond guilty of rape, according to U.S. News. Their assault on the incapacitated girl was documented on Facebook, Twitter and in text messages and cell-phone messages.

Mays and Richmond had both been accused of “using their fingers to vaginally penetrate the girl at an alcohol-fueled party in Steubenville,” first in a car and then in a house.

And the Steubenville rape cases are still ongoing with Michael McVey, the Superintendent for Steubenville City Schools, still facing obstruction of justice and evidence tampering charges. McVey has a hearing scheduled for May 5. The Directory of Technology for the Steubenville City School system, William Rhinaman, is still facing charges of perjury, obstructing official business, obstruction of justice and evidence tampering.

Both McVey and Rhinaman have pleaded not guilty to all charges. For more on the original charges against Belardine, see the video accompanying this article.

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