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Steeler Quarterback accused of rape

BenRoethlisberger

From the Associated Press:

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.”

I really hate cases like this. We see them every year or two and they never end well. First of all let me say that I am not offering an opinion on Roethlisberger’s guilt or innocence, but I can predict much of what will follow because the pattern is always the same.

There will be some people who will reflexively believe that the woman is telling the truth and that Roethlisberger is indeed a rapist. They will continue to believe that even if the woman recants her story and dismisses her lawsuit. There will be others that will reflexively insist that the woman is lying and that Roethlisberger is falsely accused. They will continue to believe that even if a jury says otherwise.

Michael Jackson, Mike Tyson, Kobe Bryant, and William Kennedy Smith are all men who were accused of sexual assaults in recent years. Jackson and Smith were acquitted by juries but some people continue to insist that they were guilty. Tyson was convicted and sent to prison but some people insist he was innocent. Bryant’s criminal case was dismissed and he settled out of court with his accuser.

The woman said Roethlisberger struck up a friendly conversation at her desk during the golf tournament last July.

The next night, 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 handled it herself because she had been told it was important to please the celebrities.

In Roethlisberger’s room she said she determined the TV was functioning properly but as she turned to leave, the 6-foot-5, 240-pound quarterback blocked her exit, the suit claims.

The lawsuit said he 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.

Roethlisberger is not facing criminal charges so if he is guilty he will be getting off lightly even if he has to pay millions of dollars. On the other hand if he is innocent then his reputation and earning ability from endorsements will be damaged even if he never has to pay the woman a dime. Either way an injustice will be done.

Either way we’ll never be sure which injustice it was.


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