Courts: Steubenville superintendent destroyed evidence

MARK GILLISPIE Associated Press Published:

CLEVELAND -- The superintendent of the eastern Ohio district where two high school football players were found guilty of rape in a high-profile case last year wiped computer hard drives, erased emails and lied to investigators about his knowledge of the allegations against the boys, newly released court documents say.

The filing Thursday came in the case against Steubenville superintendent Michael McVey, 51, who has pleaded not guilty to felony counts of tampering with evidence and obstructing justice, and misdemeanor counts of falsification and obstructing official business.

The charges stem from an investigation of McVey's actions after he learned of the allegations in 2012 made by a 16-year-old West Virginia girl against the two members of the storied Steubenville High football team, one of whom was the team's quarterback. The teens eventually were found guilty in juvenile court and were sent to youth detention centers and classified as sex offenders.

The case drew national attention in part because of the role of texting and social media in exposing the attack, which led to allegations that authorities were covering up the actions of football players.

McVey is accused of misleading authorities about the school's investigation into the rape allegations and concealing knowledge about rumors of sex and drinking at a teen party four months earlier.

The new filing alleges that he erased evidence that included emails and data on computer hard drives. McVey may have had someone wipe the hard drives for him, the document says.

McVey is on paid administrative leave. Calls seeking comment from his attorney Friday were not returned.

Three other people associated with the school and football team were charged along with McVey.

One was a volunteer coach whose house was the scene of a teen drinking party that August evening. He pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor charges and was sentenced to 10 days in jail.

Two elementary school principals, one of whom served as the team's strength coach, were charged with failing to report possible child abuse or neglect. Prosecutors agreed to drop those misdemeanor charges if those defendants performed certain requirements, such as community service and certain training.

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