Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger a Rapist?

iowa chickCorrespondent IJuly 21, 2009

TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 01:  Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates on the field after their 27-23 win against the Arizona Cardinals during Super Bowl XLIII on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Other articles here and many sports sites report that Ben Roethlisberger, quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers, is accused in a civil suit of several charges connected to an alleged rape that took place last July, 2008.

A senior shift manager who was in charge of VIP relations at Harrah's filed suit last Friday against Ben Roethlisberger saying he had held her against her will and raped her during his stay at Harrah's Lake Tahoe last July.

Normally the names of alleged rape victims are not identified, but the press has reported the alleged victim as Andrea McNully. She was a long time employee of Harrah's and had just been promoted in the VIP department.

Roethlisberger's attorney stated, "Ben has never sexually assaulted anyone, especially not Andrea McNully." This statement was unfortunate as it makes it sound like the alleged victim was especially not worthy of an assault. While this statement was in reports early on the 21st of July, it was not being reported later in the day.

Ms. McNully reported the major part of her job as VIP shift manager was to be sure VIP's such as Roethlisberger are content and happy with their hotel stay.

She had met him the night before as a VIP golf tournament began at the hotel. The next day, she claims, he called to say his television was not working. She states she could not find a technician and because it was her job to manage VIP relations (sic) she went to his room herself.

Once in the room she determined the sound on the television was working fine.

Allegedly, Roethlisberger blocked the door and did not allow her to leave, thus he is charged with one act of kidnapping, in addition to the sexual assault. He began to fondle her through her dress and then picked her up and threw her on the bed.

She states she was afraid because of his 6'5" 240 pound frame and felt he could really hurt her.

She states she protested and even stated "I am not on any birth control. You do not want to do this."

Ms. McNully also stated she did not file criminal charges because she was afraid management would take the side of the assailant and she would lose her job.

She did tell the Chief of Security who told her that crying and shaking was "overreacting" and that their boss would probably give her a bonus if she continued to have sex more often with Ben. Ben and the President of the company are good friends.

She reports he also said, "Why are you so upset? A lot of woman would love to have sex with the Steeler's quarterback."

She alledges there was then a cover up by Harrah's employees, including by the President of North Nevada Harrah's, who is a good friend with Roethlisberger. She named eight Harrah's employees in the cover-up.

In spite of her fears of losing her job, she was unable to continue anyway and was hospitalized later for depression.

Psychologist's Opinion

I spoke with a local psychologist with experience in sexual assault cases.

She stated, "He said-she said cases are always hard to prove. The alleged assailant also has unlimited funds to defend himself which makes the case lopsided."

"In general, women do not make these claims frivolously because their whole life will be exposed, most often with a negative slant."

However, the psychologist emphasized, she had no personal knowledge of any party to this case and could not speak to the veracity of the woman's claims.

"I do know," she said, "That her pattern of behavior is not atypical. Women think they can put these incidents in the past, but they find out soon that depression and anxiety and a sense of betrayal on the part of her employers will disrupt her life."

"On the other hand," she said, "Men with the wealth and fame of Roethlisberger are sitting ducks. My advice to them would be to never close the door when they are in a hotel with a woman they do not know well."

This case is sure to be a distraction during the current NFL season. After today's headlines about Michael Vick's release it will be interesting to see if this story receives the same publicity as incidents with NBA star Kobe Bryant and others.