STEUBENVILLE - Matthew Belardine, who was indicted by the special grand jury investigating the Steubenville rape case, was sentenced to 10 days in jail Tuesday for allowing underage drinking at his parents' house and for not initially telling the truth to investigators.
A night of drinking in August 2012 led to a Weirton girl being raped by two Steubenville High School students. The Belardine house on Wilma Avenue was the first house in which a group of high school students were drinking that night.
Belardine came home that night to find his sister had invited friends over, said Dennis McNamara, Belardine's attorney. He went upstairs to his room but came down about an hour later and told everyone to leave because the party had become too large and they were making too much noise, McNamara said.
Photo courtesy/ MARK?LAW
Matthew Belardine, right, with his attorney, Dennis McNamara, looks on during a hearing in court Tuesday in Steubenville. Belardine, a volunteer football coach whose house was the scene of a party that preceded the rape of a girl by two high school football players, pleaded no contest to one count of making a false statement and one count of enabling underage drinking Tuesday in Jefferson County court. Charges of obstructing official business and contributing to the delinquency of a child were dismissed.
"He did the right thing but didn't do it quick enough," McNamara said.
Belardine initially told police investigators he came home around midnight on the night of the party, then changed it to 11:15 p.m. and then told the special grand jury it was 10 p.m.
Angela Canepa, Ohio assistant attorney general, said Belardine didn't provide any alcohol but was aware of the drinking.
Visiting Judge Patricia Cosgrove questioned Belardine as to why he tried to get his sister, Kamy, to lie to police about the party. Belardine denied that, saying he had a discussion about things the police may be asking about in the initial stages of the rape investigation.
Cosgrove told Belardine, who was a volunteer coach on the Big Red freshmen football team, that he was 24 years old and the kids looked up to him.
"You had an obligation to give them guidance," she said, adding she didn't see a lot of remorse by Belardine.
Cosgrove suspended six month sentences but said there has to be some penalty for not telling law enforcement the truth. Belardine will report to the county jail at 10 a.m. on Friday.
The judge also issued fines totaling $1,000. He will be on probation for one year.
Charges of obstructing official business and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile were dismissed when Belardine pleaded no contest to the other charges.