What charges will Ben Roethlisberger face?
Ben Roethlisberger’s lawyer spent all day yesterday with any news source he could find denying adamantly any of the allegations that have been made against the Steelers quarterback. Big Ben, as Roethlisberger is known, is one of several men who have been named in a lawsuit by a woman accusing the men of sexually assaulting or contributing to her sexual assault last summer.
Roethlisberger, whose rise to fame in the NFL is the stuff of legend, has cancelled a news conference that was scheduled for today, perhaps to circle the wagons and have his team of publicists figure out how to deal with the accusation.
The woman making the accusation was working as an “executive casino host” at Harrah’s in Lake Tahoe, California last July when she claims that Roethlisberger struck up a friendly conversation at her desk during a celebrity tournament. According to the lawsuit, the woman’s claim is that Roethlisberger charmed her into his penthouse hotel suit and raped her the next night.
Roethlisberger’s lawyer, David Cornwell, had this to say about the accusation — “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. If an investigation is commenced, Ben will cooperate fully and Ben will be fully exonerated.’’
You read that right — there was no criminal complaint and police are saying there will be no criminal investigation. This gives the woman’s case about as much weight as your neighbor’s opinion about the BCS.
The lawsuit levied against Roethlisberger and others seeks a minimum award of $440,000 in damages from the quarterback, another $50,000 minimum in damages from the Harrah’s staff and officials, and an as yet unspecified amount of “punitive damages”. As explanation for why she didn’t file a criminal complaint, the accuser says she didn’t file that all important criminal complaint with police because she feared Harrah’s would side with Roethlisberger and she would lose her job.
Details are starting to leak about about the alleged rape as the lawsuit’s paperwork leaks to the media. The woman claims she “went to Roethlisberger’s room to address a problem he reported with his television”. Allegedly, as she turned to leave, Roethlisberger physically blocked her exit and began to make sexual advances, which she claims she rejected.
“But instead of stopping,’’ these words taken directly from the law suit filings, Roethlisberger “held her against her will and physically moved the plaintiff and pushed her onto his bed’’ where he proceeded to rape her. The lawsuit adds to the punitive and other damage claims by insisting that the accuser suffered mentally, requiring hospitalization for treatment for depression and other mental illnesses after the alleged attack last summer.
One of the most common questions about the ongoing Ben Roethlisberger situation is why his accuser didn’t ever file a criminal complaint against Roethlisberger and the other men, opting instead to wait for a civil suit. A jaded individual might suggest that in civil court there is less requirements in terms of evidence and proof.
The answer we’ve heard from the woman, through her lawyer, doesn’t hold much water. If she felt she would be fired by Harrah’s for coming out against Roethlisberger when it happened, why would she wait only one year? Allegedly, the woman is still employed by the casino and would face similar persecution to the kind she feared last year. It just doesn’t hold much water.