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QB named in rape lawsuit

Woman says Roethlisberger assaulted her last summer

Associated Press / July 22, 2009

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Ben Roethlisberger’s lawyer yesterday adamantly denied the allegations levied against the Steelers quarterback, who has been named in a lawsuit by a woman accusing him of sexually assaulting her last summer.

The woman was working as an executive casino host at Harrah’s in Lake Tahoe, Calif., last July when she said Roethlisberger struck up a friendly conversation at her desk during a celebrity tournament. According to the lawsuit, the woman claims Roethlisberger raped her the next night in his penthouse hotel room.

“Ben has never sexually assaulted anyone,’’ said David Cornwell, Roethlisberger’s lawyer, in a statement. “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 seeks a minimum of $440,000 in damages from the quarterback, at least $50,000 in damages from the Harrah’s officials, and an unspecified amount of punitive damages. The woman says she didn’t file a criminal complaint because she feared Harrah’s would side with Roethlisberger and she would be fired.

Details of the alleged assault are covered in the lawsuit. The woman claims she went to Roethlisberger’s room to address a problem he reported with his television. As she turned to leave, the suit claims, Roethlisberger blocked her exit and began to make sexual advances, which she rejected. “But instead of stopping,’’ as reported in the suit, Roethlisberger “held her against her will and physically moved [the] plaintiff and pushed her onto his bed’’ where he raped her.

The lawsuit also says the woman required hospitalization for treatment for depression after the alleged attack.

The woman’s lawyer, Calvin R. Dunlap, declined to answer questions about the lack of a criminal complaint and why the civil action was brought a year after the alleged incident took place.

Goodell mum on Vick’s status
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell isn’t revealing when he’ll decide whether to reinstate Michael Vick now that the former Falcons star quarterback has been released from federal custody.

“The process is ongoing, and I hope to make a decision sometime in the near future,’’ Goodell said, a day after Vick’s home confinement ended.

Goodell would not say when he’ll meet with Vick, 29, who is a free agent.

Ex-Bills QB Losman off to UFL
Former Bills quarterback J.P. Losman signed with the Las Vegas franchise in the United Football League, the most notable player to hook on with the fledgling operation that begins in October. “The United Football League is providing me with the opportunity to play the sport I love at a high level and for that, I am extremely grateful,’’ said Losman, who spent five seasons in Buffalo after being a first-round pick out of Tulane . . . After suffering a left knee injury while preparing for Falcons training camp, veteran offensive lineman Jeremy Newberry, 33, announced his retirement.

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