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Ten-year old killed in house fire the night before her alleged rapist’s trial; RNC organizers considering lawsuit over convention hotel rooms

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We boil down what happened in Cleveland this week.

Ten-year-old killed in house fire the night before her alleged rapist’s trial

Ten-year-old Youngstown native Corinne Gump and her grandparents were killed in a house fire on March 30, the night before she was supposed to testify against her mother’s boyfriend, Robert Seman Jr., who was accused of raping and sexually abusing her over the course of four years. The Youngstown authorities and the state fire marshal are still investigating whether or not the fire was intentional.

The prosecutors say that Seman had been sexually abusing Gump since she was four years old, during the time that she spent living with her mother, Lynn Schmidt. The abuse continued until Gump told her family and the police at age nine. Seman was indicted with four charges of rape and four charges of gross sexual imposition in March of 2014. At the time of the fire, he was not in jail, as he had been released under electronic monitoring after paying the $200,000 bond.

The prosecutors say that they still plan on pursuing rape charges. Shortly after the fire, Seman was also charged with bribing his ex-wife, Christine Seman, to lie for him during the trial, an offer which she refused.

Republican National Convention organizers considering lawsuit over convention hotel rooms

Already in the midst of preparations for the July 2016 Republican National Convention (RNC), the event’s organizers are considering a lawsuit for a group of hotels which are backing out on their agreement to reserve rooms for the event.

Last year, hotels informally committed 90 percent of their rooms as part of the city’s convention bid. However, now, according to David Gilbert, the new president and CEO of the Cleveland 2016 Host Committee, about 10 hotels and between 1,000-16,000 hotel rooms are considering going back on their agreement due to disagreements about rates. Although they are still working on negotiations, Gilbert said that a lawsuit is possible.

Other aspects of convention planning are still being sorted out. The RNC hopes to have office space by May 1, likely in the Halle Building downtown. They are also still working on raising the $64 million in donations they need to put on the event. Currently, they have about $35 million.

About the Writer
Julia Bianco, Director of Web and Multimedia

Julia Bianco is a senior cognitive science and political science student currently working as The Obsever’s Director of Web and Multimedia. She has...

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Ten-year old killed in house fire the night before her alleged rapist’s trial; RNC organizers considering lawsuit over convention hotel rooms