Wed, Apr 14, 2010 - Page 19 News List

Roethlisberger will not face charges of sexual assault


NFL quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will not face sexual assault charges after a college student declined to press charges, authorities said on Monday.

Prosecutors said the 20-year-old woman’s accusations could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and her lawyer said in a letter that she did not want to press charges against the Pittsburgh Steelers star.

The woman told an officer the two-time Super Bowl champion sexually assaulted her last month at the Capital City night club, where he was drinking with friends.

“The prosecutor’s decision not to bring charges, I know without a doubt, is the right conclusion,” Roethlisberger said on Monday. “I don’t intend to discuss any details related to the events of Georgia. I’m happy to put this behind me and move forward.”

District attorney Fred Bright said the investigation showed the woman was drinking heavily that night.

She and her friends had met Roethlisberger earlier that night at another club and he invited them into a VIP area at the Capital City club. When the woman got up to go to the toilet Roethlisberger followed her.

A doctor who examined the woman could not say if she was raped, and while some DNA was found, there was not enough to determine whom it belonged to.

The woman’s lawyer, David Walbert, said in a letter to Bright that his client was not recanting her accusation. But the letter also stated she did not want to press the issue because it would be “a very intrusive personal experience.”

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he is still planning to meet privately with Roethlisberger and that talk is scheduled for later this week.

Former first-round draft pick Roethlisberger is being sued by another woman who says he raped her in 2008 at a Nevada casino. Roethlisberger denies the accusation.

Roethlisberger led Pittsburgh to Super Bowl titles in 2006 and last year.

“I’m truly sorry for the disappointment and negative attention I brought to my family, my teammates, coaches, the Rooneys and the NFL,” Roethlisberger said.

“I understand that the opportunities I have been blessed with are a privilege, and much is expected of me as the quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I absolutely want to be the leader this team deserves, valued in the community and a role model to kids. I have much work to do to earn this trust,” he said.

Former Steelers all-star quarterback Terry Bradshaw said on Monday that Roethlisberger needs to take a good look in the mirror.

“He has got to realize who he is,” Bradshaw said. “He has an image problem right now. The best thing to do is don’t put himself in that position again.”

“He doesn’t like me and I am learning not to like him,” he said.

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