Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Bad Weekend for Ben Roethlisberger

You're a successful athlete, you're doing whatever you can to make your team better, you're leading by example--and then this happens:
A woman has filed a lawsuit accusing Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger of raping her last summer in his penthouse hotel 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. 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," David Cornwell said in a statement. "If an investigation is commenced, Ben will cooperate fully and Ben will be fully exonerated."

This is why professional athletes have to keep lawyers on retainer. If their images aren't being stolen by cheap bloggers who can't seem to make it out to the old football stadium to snap pictures on their own, then they are having to fend off lawsuits, distant relatives, and creepy old guys who want to practice snapping the ball with you.

Here's the good news, however:
Law enforcement officials in Nevada have no intention of opening a criminal investigation into allegations Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger raped a woman at a Lake Tahoe hotel-casino a year ago, the sheriff's department said Wednesday.

Douglas County Sheriff's Deputy Teresa Duffy said the accuser would have to file a criminal complaint to trigger an investigation into the incident the woman says occurred during a celebrity golf tournament last July while she was working as an executive VIP casino host at Harrah's Lake Tahoe.

The story really doesn't end there. Roethlisberger's accuser is, to put it mildly, a screaming bag of nuts:
Either Ben Roethlisberger accuser Andrea McNulty has painted a disturbing picture of the two-time Super Bowl winner, or she has a very active imagination.

The Nevada hotel employee accusing the Pittsburgh Steelers star of raping her last year says that she told him to stop but the football player refused.

She also alleges that she tried to report the sexual assault, but was shut down by her bosses who downplayed it and threatened her job if she spoke out.

There is also the question of the mental state of Andrea McNulty, who has been treated for PTSD, insomnia, anxiety and depression since the incident.

Is this a byproduct of what happened with Roethlisberger? Or, on the flip side, did her condition lead her to embellish what happened with the NFL star?

I vote for bag of nuts. No one should have to go through this sort of thing, and you always have to remember that, many times, there are unreported incidents of rape and sexual assault. You must always remember this--there truly are some sick and depraved individuals out there who believe their status as a third-string high school football player entitles them to do whatever they want in Shit Holler, Kentucky or wherever. One must keep in mind the need to protect the rights and privacy of the accuser and the accused, where possible.

But, in this case, sorry. When you don't file a criminal report, you make it very difficult to have your story believed. And specifying you want $400K doesn't help you, either.

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