The fallout for Ben Roethlisberger over an alleged sexual assault of a woman in a Georgia nightclub continues this week after police documents were released and the Steelers’ brass announced they plan to punish the two-time Super Bowl champion.
Though Roethlisberger was not charged, police records released this week contain detailed testimony by his accuser and her friends of events that occurred that night.
The victim was a 20-year-old student at Georgia College & State University who met Roethlisberger out in Milledgeville, Ga, where the quarterback was celebrating his 28th birthday.
"Ben asked us to go to his 'vip' area (back of Capital). We all went with him," the woman wrote in a statement, obtained by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "He said there were shots for us, numerous shots were on the bar, and he told us to take them. His bodyguard came and took my arm and said come with me, he escorted me into a side door/hallway, and sat me on a stool. He left and Ben came back ... . I told him it wasn't ok, no, we don't need to do this and I proceeded to get up and try to leave. I went to the first door I saw, which happened to be a bathroom. He followed me into the bathroom and shut the door behind him. I still said no, this is not ok, and he then had sex with me. He said it was ok. Then he left without saying anything."
Nicole Biancofiore, a friend of the woman, said the accuser “was dragged by a bodyguard to the back room in Capital. She was extremely intoxicated and not aware of what was happening.”
Biancofiore claimed another friend, Aliesha Scholten, attempted to open the bathroom door but “she was taken away by a bodyguard of Ben’s.”
A third woman in the group, Ann Marie Lubatti, wrote that she “approached the other security guard and told him that she [the accuser] was in no shape to be back there with Ben Roethlisberger. He couldn't look me in the eye, and told me he didn't know what was going on. My friend went to open the door, and it was locked."
Prosecutors dropped the case after District Attorney Fred Bright said he believed it would be hard to bring a case that would convince a jury “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Bright also said the accuser and her family did not want to press charges.
Though Roethlisberger has escaped prosecution, the Steelers’ administration isn’t cutting him any slack. President Art Rooney II says the team will discipline their Pro-Bowl QB, but wants to coordinate the punishment with NFL action.
"When we get to the point where we have agreed with the commissioner on what that action will be, that's when it will be imposed," said Rooney. "After imposing an appropriate level of discipline and outlining the steps we feel will be necessary to be successful as a player and a person, we intend to allow Ben the opportunity to prove to us he is the teammate and citizen we all believe he is capable of being."
Though Roethlisberger is not ready to throw in the terrible towel yet, he says he is willing to accept punishment for his off-the-gridiron behavior.
Roethlisberger is still involved in a civil suit regarding an alleged sexual assaulted on a hotel employee in Nevanda. He is expected to begin offseason practice next week.