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Woman accuses Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger of rape

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Nevada woman claims in a lawsuit that Ben Roethlisberger raped her last year at a Lake Tahoe resort, accusations the Steelers quarterback has denied.

The incident happened at Harrah's Lake Tahoe Hotel and Casino, where the woman works as the resort's VIP services manager, the lawsuit states.

The resort plays host to the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship, an event Roethlisberger has attended several times. The Tribune-Review doesn't identify alleged victims of sexual assault.

"Ben has never sexually assaulted anyone," said David Cornwell Sr., the quarterback's Atlanta-based lawyer. "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 lawsuit states the woman met Roethlisberger several times at the resort. On July 11, 2008, Roethlisberger asked the woman to come to his 17th floor suite to fix a television.

After discovering the television worked perfectly, Roethlisberger blocked the doorway with his body, the lawsuit states.

Uninvited kissing turned to groping before Roethlisberger pushed the woman to the bed and raped her, the lawsuit alleges.

"You don't want to do this," the woman allegedly said. "Please don't."

Several law enforcement agencies in Nevada said they weren't called to investigate any misconduct involving Roethlisberger, perhaps the Steelers' most visible player.

Attorney Calvin R.X. Dunlap of Reno, who represents the woman, didn't respond to requests for comment.

According to the lawsuit, the woman reported the assault to Harrah's security chief, Guy Hyder. The lawsuit accuses eight Harrah's employees — including Hyder and John Koster, regional president of Harrah's Northern Nevada — of covering up the incident and defaming her by making false statements about her character.

The lawsuit claims Harrah's gave the woman two weeks of paid leave earlier this month when Roethlisberger returned to play in the celebrity tournament. He was served with the lawsuit while there.

A Harrah's spokeswoman didn't return calls for comment.

The accuser is seeking $380,000 in medical expenses she said she incurred during months of treatment for depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder; more than $30,000 in lost wages; and an unspecified amount in damages.

Steelers spokesman Dave Lockett said the team is aware of the allegations.

"We have heard Ben's side of the story, and we support him at this time," Lockett said.

The NFL will monitor the case, a league spokesman said.

"It's a civil matter, not a criminal matter," said Greg Aiello, NFL vice president of public relations. "It would be premature to comment on how the league's personal conduct policy will apply, if at all."

Additional Information:

AP video

An in-depth look at the lawsuit filed by a Nevada woman against Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.



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