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Lake Tahoe rape case against Roethlisberger settled quietly

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Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012

Lawyers have reached a settlement to end a civil lawsuit filed against Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger by a Nevada woman who accused him of raping her during a celebrity golf tournament at Lake Tahoe.

Cal Dunlap, the Reno lawyer representing the woman, told The Associated Press on Friday that the case has been settled. It is not known if the woman received any money in the settlement.

The woman, a former VIP concierge at Harrah's Lake Tahoe Hotel and Casino, claimed that Roethlisberger raped her in July 2008 while he was at Lake Tahoe playing in the tournament. She filed the lawsuit in Reno a year later, saying that the two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback lured her to his room by saying that his television was not working.

Roethlisberger has denied assaulting the woman, who never filed a formal criminal complaint with police. The Tribune-Review does not identify those who say they are victims of sexual assault.

The Reno Gazette-Journal, which reported the settlement on its website yesterday, said the case was formally dismissed last month.

The newspaper said the settlement dismisses claims against Harrah's employees whom the woman accused of covering up the alleged assault in Roethlisberger's penthouse suite.

"The matter has been resolved, and I have no further comment," Dunlap told the AP.

Roethlisberger's agent, Ryan Tollner, declined to comment.

Neither a Steelers spokesman nor Roethlisberger's attorney, William David Cornwell Sr. of DNK Cornwell in Atlanta, could be reached for comment.

Dunlap filed court papers on Nov. 30 with Washoe District Court Judge Brent Adams saying his client wanted to have a stay lifted so the case could be dismissed because a settlement was pending.

"All parties have reached a resolution of all claims and counterclaims," Dunlap wrote.

Adams formally dismissed the case on Dec. 27.

The original lawsuit sought a minimum of $440,000 in damages from Roethlisberger, at least $50,000 in damages from Harrah's officials and an unspecified amount in punitive damages.

The woman's claims -- coupled with a 20-year-old college student's accusation that Roethlisberger sexually assaulted her in the restroom of a Milledgeville, Ga., nightclub in 2010 -- prompted National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell to suspend the quarterback for the first six games of the 2010 season.

Roethlisberger has worked since then to clean up his image, and Goodell was sufficiently satisfied to reduce the suspension to four games.

"I've spent a lot of time evaluating and looking at my life, on and off the field, and I think this is kind of the time to close the chapter of the last couple years of my life and move on," Roethlisberger told the Trib after the suspension was announced.

"Looking forward to the second chance, the second opportunity. Not just in football but in life, I think that's kind of what's more important."

Roethlisberger married Ashley Harlan in July, but only after talking to her brothers and getting permission from her father to ask her to marry him. Roethlisberger, who has a $102 million contract with the Steelers, and his bride asked wedding guests to make charitable contributions in lieu of gifts.

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