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Former coach in Ohio rape case sentenced for probation violation

A former volunteer football coach who was convicted of lying to authorities in connection with an Ohio high school rape case was sentenced to 60 days in jail on Monday for violating his probation.

Matthew Belardine, 27, had served 10 days in jail of a six-month sentence and was on probation after being found guilty in April of lying to police and providing alcohol to minors before they sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl at his home in 2012.

He admitted to violating his probation when he left Ohio without permission last month and was arrested for drunkenly fighting with people protesting race and policing issues in Scottsdale, Arizona.

On Monday, Belardine told Judge Patricia Cosgrove, "By no means do I take this lightly." He added, "I am ashamed and I am embarrassed, but one thing that I am not is a criminal."

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The judge told Belardine that he does not seem to understand the consequences of his actions. "The bottom line is you don't get it," Cosgrove said before the sentencing.

In addition to 60 days in jail, with credit for 12 days already served, Cosgrove ordered that Belardine remain on probation for six more months and face random drug testing and drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs if applicable.

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

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

Felony and misdemeanor charges in connection with the case were filed against the superintendent of the Steubenville City Schools and the district's former director of technology. The superintendent will be in court on Jan. 12.

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

 
 
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