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Volunteer coach in Ohio rape case charged with violating probation
December 17, 2014 / 8:28 PM / 3 years ago

Volunteer coach in Ohio rape case charged with violating probation

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio (Reuters) - A volunteer football coach convicted of lying to authorities in connection with an Ohio rape case that drew national attention was ordered held without bail on Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to four counts of violating his probation.

Matthew Belardine, 27, admitted to leaving Ohio without permission, entering a bar, drinking and getting into trouble with the law after he allegedly was involved in a brawl in November in Scottsdale, Arizona, with people who were protesting race and policing issues.

Belardine had served 10 days in jail in April before being put on probation and after the Arizona incident, prosecutor Angie Canepa asked the court to sentence him to the remainder of his six-month jail sentence.

"It's very clear that he was engaged in a physical altercation with a female and there were punches exchanged back and forth," Canepa told Judge Patricia Cosgrove. Belardine is due back in court on Monday.

In April, Belardine became the first person to serve jail time in connection with a rape case involving members of a high school football team in Steubenville, Ohio.

A grand jury had looked into whether school employees tried to cover up the rape of the girl at a party in 2012 to protect the football program. The grand jury charged Belardine and three other adults who worked for the schools in Steubenville.

The rape case drew national attention to Steubenville, about 40 miles west of Pittsburgh, because of the role of social media. People involved in the incident or who were aware of it circulated texts and photos that were later used as evidence.

Two football players were found guilty as juveniles of assaulting the girl after a party at the home where Belardine lived with his parents.

Felony and misdemeanor charges in connection with the case remain pending against the superintendent of the Steubenville City Schools and the district's former director of technology.

Belardine also faces a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct in Arizona.

Editing by Fiona Ortiz and Bill Trott

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