If bad news keeps following him around after Super Bowl victories, Ben Roethlisberger may not ever want to win another Lombardi Trophy.
Everyone remembers Roethlisberger's motorcycle accident in the offseason following Super Bowl XL. This offseason has brought a new surprise: a sexual harassment lawsuit.
Pro Football Talk (an NBC affiliate) has confirmed that a casino employee in Nevada has levied five charges against Roethlisberger. The Steelers' QB was served with the suit this weekend while playing in a celebrity golf tournament in Nevada.
The two-time Super Bowl winner is being charged with one civil count of assault, one civil account of sexual assault and battery, one civil account of false imprisonment, one civil count of false pretenses, and one civil account of intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The complainant, Andrea McNulty, claims that in July 2008 she was called up to Roethlisberger's room to fix a television. While she was up there, McNulty claims Roethlisberger forced her to have sex with him.
Roethlisberger's lawyer David Cornwall vehemently denied the allegations in this statement that was released late Monday night:
"This weekend Andrea McNulty served Ben Roethlisberger with a civil complaint accusing him of sexually assaulting her in July 2008. Ben has never sexually assaulted anyone; especially Andrea McNulty. 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. Ben will not be baited into a public discussion about his personal life, but we will defend him vigorously. The limited value that Ms. McNulty derived from public disclosure of these viciously false allegations is the only value she will ever receive from Ben in this case."
Cornwall makes a solid case for the innocence of his client. The first and most obvious question is: If Roethlisberger is actually guilty, why didn't McNulty file criminal charges? Why go straight after his money?
Keep in mind, these are civil charges. This means that if Roethlisberger was found guilty, the court could only financially punish him, and there would be no jail time. McNulty is seeking $440,000 in damages.
Details of the allegations became available Tuesday morning and they go as follows:
McNulty claims that Roethlisberger was walking a woman out of his room to an elevator. After the girl reached the elevator, Roethlisberger chatted it up with several Harrah's employee's, including McNulty.
Roethlisberger allegedly told McNulty that the sound sysytem on his TV wasn't working. McNulty told Ben that she would send someone to fix it, but he asked that she do it.
When McNulty couldn't find anyone to send to the room to repair the television, Harrah's staff allegedly told her to go so that Roethlisberger would have no comlaints about his stay.
McNulty says that Roethlisberger was in a T-shirt and athletic shorts and that after she tested the TV and sound system, she found nothing to be wrong.
The suit then says that as McNulty tried to exit the room, Roethlisberger, "grabbed [her] and started to kiss her."
McNulty says that Roethlisberger fondled her, pushed her into the bed and then did the deed. She claims she "communicated her objection and lack of consent." She even says she told him, "you don't want to do this."
When Roethlisberger asked if there were cameras in the room and McNulty answered, "Yes," Roethisberger allegedly became stern, telling her, "If anyone asks, you fixed my television. You fixed my television, now go."
The alleged incident is said to have taken place on Friday, July 11, 2008.
According to Washoe County's web site, the charges were filed Friday, July 17 at 3:55 p.m., the summons for Roethlisberger was issued three minutes later.
The eight other defendants in the case are: Debbie Neall, Mike Rosenow, Dave Monroe, Mark Masters, Guy Hyder, John Koster, Stacy Dingman (former director of hotel operations at Harrah's), and Bryan Casuscelli (marketing staffer at Harrah's).
The Douglas County (Nev.) Sheriff's Department also announced that because there were no criminal charges filed against Roethlisberger, they would not open an investigation.
The big questions for Steelers fans is: If Ben is innocent, will the charges mess with his head as he trains for the upcoming season?
*UPDATE: TMZ.com is breaking some interesting news, you can hit up my blog to check it out or visit TMZ.The blog also includes a timeline of the case. Did you know that McNulty hired her lawyer in March, check out the blog for other surprises.
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