The superintendent of the Ohio district where two high school athletes were found guilty of rape in a high-profile US case last year wiped computer hard drives, erased emails and lied to investigators about his knowledge of the allegations against the boys, court documents say.
Steubenville Superintendent Michael McVey, 51, has pleaded not guilty to felony counts of tampering with evidence and obstructing justice, and misdemeanour counts of falsification and obstructing official business.
The charges stem from an investigation of McVey’s actions after he learnt 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 a key position player.
The teens were found guilty and were sent to youth detention centres 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 the athletes.
McVey is accused of misleading authorities about the school’s investigation into the rape allegations and concealing knowledge about rumours 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.
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 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 charges if those defendants performed certain requirements, such as community service and certain training.