NFL: Roethlisberger dealing with accusations
By Scott Sonner
RENO, Nev. ó A woman has filed a lawsuit accusing Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger of raping her last summer in his penthouse room at a casino in Lake Tahoe during a celebrity golf tournament.
Roethlisberger’s lawyer denied the allegations Tuesday and noted that the woman, who was working at the hotel as an executive casino host, never went to the authorities.
“Ben has never sexually assaulted anyone,” David Cornwell said in a statement. “The timing of the lawsuit and the absence of a criminal complaint and a criminal investigation are the most compelling evidence of the absence of any criminal conduct. If an investigation is commenced, Ben will cooperate fully and Ben will be fully exonerated.”
The claim seeks at least $390,000 in damages from the quarterback. The lawsuit also alleges hotel officials for Harrah’s Lake Tahoe went to great lengths to cover up the incident.
Teresa Duffy, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office in Douglas County, which includes part of Lake Tahoe, said no complaints were filed about such an incident either with sheriff’s deputies or the district attorney’s office.
The woman’s lawsuit says she didn’t file a criminal complaint because she feared she would be fired and expected Harrah’s would side with Roethlisberger. The woman said she had been promoted from VIP shift manager and was working as an executive casino host when Roethlisberger struck up a friendly conversation at her desk during the golf tournament.
The next day, July 11, 2008, she said he telephoned her to tell her his television sound system wasn’t working and asked her to look at it.
She said she was unable to find a technician so she decided to handle it herself because she had been told how important it was to please celebrities.
In Roethlisberger’s room she said she determined the TV was functioning properly but as she turned to leave he stood in front of the door and blocked her, the suit claims.
The lawsuit said he then grabbed her and started to kiss her. It said she was “shocked and stunned that this previously friendly man, that appeared to be a gentleman in her previous contacts with him, was suddenly preventing her from leaving, was assaulting her and battering her.”
She said she feared that because he was a football player he could or would physically harm her if she tried to fight him off but that she objected and protested several times.
“But instead of stopping, Roethlisberger began fondling plaintiff through her dress and between her legs,” the suit said. He then “held her against her will and physically moved plaintiff and pushed her onto his bed” where he raped her, the suit says.
She told him “You don’t want to do this,” and begged him “I am not on any type of birth control.”
Afterward, he asked if there was a security camera in the hallway. She said he then instructed her to claim she had repaired his television if anyone asked why she was in his room. The lawsuit says the woman required hospitalization for treatment for depression after the alleged attack.
The woman’s lawyer, Calvin R. Dunlap, of Reno, declined to answer questions about the lack of a criminal complaint and why the civil action was brought a year after the incident allegedly took place.
NEW YORK (AP) ó NFL commissioner Roger Goodell isn’t revealing when he’ll decide whether to reinstate Michael Vick now that the former Atlanta Falcons star quarterback has been released from federal custody.
“The process is ongoing, and I hope to make a decision sometime in the near future,” Goodell said one day after Vick’s home confinement ended.
NEW YORK (AP) ó Singer Marc Anthony is the latest music star to join forces with the Miami Dolphins.
Anthony will become a minority owner. Singer Gloria Estefan and her husband, producer Emilio Estefan, also bought a small stake in the club last month.New Dolphins owner Stephen Ross also began a partnership in May with Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville enterprise, which includes Land Shark Lager.
Buffett has yet to accept Ross’ invitation to become a minority owner, but the Dolphins’ stadium has been renamed Land Shark Stadium for this season. Buffett has also written a song for the team.