Crime

Former Fruitland High assistant track coach charged with 5 sex crimes involving a minor

What is sexual violence?

Sexual violence is a social and public health problem in the U.S. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey says nearly 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men experienced sexual violence victimization other than rape at some point in their lives.
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Sexual violence is a social and public health problem in the U.S. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey says nearly 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men experienced sexual violence victimization other than rape at some point in their lives.

Kelly J. Rhinehart, the founder of Roady’s Truck Stops and a former assistant track coach at Fruitland High School, was indicted Monday in Payette County on suspicion of five felony sex crimes involving a child.

Rhinehart, 52, of Fruitland, is accused of raping a 17-year-old girl on or about April 30 in Payette County, according to a copy of his indictment. It also outlines at least four occasions between March and April in which Rhinehart is accused of sexually abusing the girl.

He is charged with one count of rape, one count of sexual battery of a minor ages 16 or 17 by lewd or lascivious contact, and three counts of sexual battery of a minor ages 16 or 17 by sexual contact.

A copy of the Fruitland School District’s Board of Trustees meeting minutes from May 19 show that Rhinehart resigned as assistant track coach. The Idaho Statesman attempted to contact Fruitland School Superintendent Teresa Fabricius and the trustees for comment but did not receive a response.

Rhinehart was arrested Wednesday and booked into the Payette County Jail. He posted a $100,000 cash bond and has been released.

Idaho State Police spokesman Tim Marsano told the Statesman that ISP’s investigation into Rhinehart began in early May after allegations were made against him. The Idaho Attorney General’s Office is handling the case, after the Payette County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office cited a conflict of interest on June 6, according to a copy of the agreement provided by the AG’s office.

Payette County Prosecutor Ross Pittman did not specify in the letter what his office’s conflict was, but left all prosecutorial decisions to the attorney general.

Rhinehart is well-known in the Treasure Valley for Roady’s former sponsorship of what is now called the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. From 2007 to 2009, it was the Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl, played on Boise State’s blue turf.

The Roady’s Truck Stops website touts that it is the largest chain of independent truck stops in the U.S., with more than 300 retail locations in 38 states. Rhinehart is listed on the site as being mostly retired.

Rhinehart’s arraignment is set for 9 a.m. Aug. 16 in Payette County. His attorney of record is not listed yet in the court’s online record system.

If convicted, rape is punishable by up to life in prison; sexual battery of a minor ages 16 or 17 by lewd or lascivious contact is punishable by up to life; and sexual battery of a 16- or 17-year-old by sexual contact is punishable by up to 25 years in prison.

Rhinehart is the second coach recently at Fruitland High to be accused of sexual abuse. Former Fruitland principal and head basketball coach Mike Fitch was accused this year of sexual battery of a female employee. Allegations made in tort claims have alleged that Fitch was also inappropriate with students. He’s pleaded not guilty and awaits trial in that case.

Need help?

The Faces of Hope Victim Center is available for victims in need of emergency services at 417 S. 6th St. in Boise. Victims should call 911 in emergencies or call 208-577-4400 on weekdays during business hours. Faces of Hope provides free medical care and forensic examinations for victims, as well as assistance with filing police reports and mental health care.

Survivors who may need help are also encouraged to contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

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Reporter Ruth Brown covers the criminal justice and correctional systems in Idaho. She focuses on breaking news, public safety and social justice. Prior to coming to the Idaho Statesman, she was a reporter at the Idaho Press-Tribune, the Bakersfield Californian and the Idaho Falls Post Register.
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