Our Georgia History
 

Milledgeville assault
March 5, 2010 A 20-year old Georgia College student tells friends at Capitol City, a bar in Milledgeville, that she was sexually assaulted by Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. She reports the crime to a police officer on the scene before being treated at a local hospital for injuries, including bruising on her head.
  Milledgeville assault
March 8, 2010 Battling his second sex crimes charge in 9 months, Pittsburgh Steeler QB Ben Roethlisberger hires noted Atlanta attorney Ed Garland. The victim's family also hires attorneys.
  Milledgeville assault
March 10, 2010 In statements to police, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger admits he had "sexual contact" with a young Georgia College student and that she had "bumped her head" during the incident
  Milledgeville assault
March 17, 2010 Attorneys for Ben Roethlisberger's victim deliver a letter to DA Fred Bright asking that the criminal case not continue. The letter states, "...this decision does not reflect any recanting of our client's complaint."
  Milledgeville assault
April 12, 2010 Baldwin County District Attorney Fred Bright said assault charges against Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would not be filed.
  Milledgeville assault
April 15, 2010 According to USA Today, friends of the young college student assaulted by Ben Roethlisberger tried to reach her in the women's restroom during the assault but were prevented by his bodyguards. One friend told a bodyguard the victim was "...too drunk to be alone back there with Ben. We need to get her."
  Milledgeville assault


Capitol City Club in Milledgeville, Georgia is a popular with local kids from Georgia College and State University. On Thursday, March 4, 2010, Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger showed up with his "posse" including a second member of the Steelers team (Willie Colon), two Georgia police officers and two Pennsylvania police officers. The party continued into the next day with bartenders ordered to keep the shots coming for the women in Roethlesberger's private room.

According to the Baldwin County DA Fred Bright's 754-page report on the incident, a "bodyguard," later identified as Anthony Barravecchio, an officer with the Coraopolis Police Department, "pulled" or "dragged" the unwilling victim in to a stool in a hallway with a door to a small rest room. According to the victim and corroborated by witnesses, Roethlisberger then approached her and exposed himself as the college student told him "No, this is not OK." The student then tried to get away, entering the women's restroom. Roethlisberger followed the victim into the restroom as she tried desperately to get away from the powerful 6'5", 240 lb. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback. A friend of the victim immediately approached another Roethlisberger "bodyguard," later identified as Edward Joyner, an officer with Pennsylvania State Police, to help get her friend out of the restroom. Joyner responded that he didn’t know what she was talking about, her statement said.

In the restroom the woman told Roethlisberger: "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."

Immediately after enduring the attack, the victim reported the attack to Milledgeville police officer Sgt. Jerry Blash, who wrote a short report on the incident and failed to include the victim's identification of Roethlisberger as her attacker. Less than an hour after the attack Blash became the only Georgia police officer to interview Roethlisberger and during the interview he made derogatory comments about the accuser. Milledgeville officers, including Blash, had posed for pictures with Roethlisberger in groups and individually. Milledgeville Chief of Police Woodrow Blue said that none of the officers in the pictures were involved in the investigation other than the initial report, but gave Blash an ultimatum, resign or be fired for the problems with his initial report and the derogatory comments about the victim.

Roethlisberger admitted to police during the initial investigation that there was "consensual contact" with his 20-year-old accuser, but there was no sexual intercourse. Roethlisberger claimed that "afterward the woman slipped and fell, injuring her head" in an attempt to explain the bruising on the victim's head. The bruising on the victim was not consistent with Roethlisberger's story that the victim slipped and hit her head.

Friends took the victim to Oconee Regional Medical Center where a rape kit was done and bruising and superficial lacerations in the victim's genital area were examined. The rape kit swabbing later returned results indicating the presence of male DNA, but the sample was too small to match. On Monday, March 8, Roethlisberger hired Ed Garland, who defended Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and Atlanta Thrasher Dany Heatley somewhat successfully. The victim also hired two attorneys, Lee Parks and David Walbert. On Tuesday, March 9th, they issued the following statement:

"We join the school in urging the media to respect the family's need for privacy during this extremely difficult period in their lives.

"Their daughter has done the right thing and reported this matter to the police. She has been, and will be, available to the authorities to assist them in the criminal investigation. While the matter is under investigation, we ask you to respect her privacy, keep her name out of the press and allow the family space and time to heal."

On March 9th, Milledgeville police Chief Woodrow Blue, accompanied by Tom Davis, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent in charge, announced the department requested a DNA sample from Roethlisberger. Blue said that the Steelers' Quarterback's legal team has been cooperative, and he has no reason to believe they wouldn't comply with the DNA request, but no DNA test was forthcoming.

Saturday morning, March 14th, investigators were supposed to get a chance to finally interview Roethlisberger about the student's allegations. Roethlisberger, however, did not consent to the interview and a short time later pulled out of the Kraft Nabisco Championship Celebrity Pro-Am in Rancho Mirage, CA. He had been adviced to keep a low profile after the sexual assault.

On March 17 Baldwin County District Attorney Fred Bright received a letter from one the victims attorney's. In it, the lawyer asked Bright not to pursue criminal charges against Roethlisberger, although in the letter the victim stated she would not recant any portion of her story. Bright then informed Roethlisberger attorney that there was no longer a need for a DNA sample, since the victim would have to testify that the sex was not consensual to make a criminal case.

During the investigation investigators uncovered two additional attempted sexual assaults. In each case the victim refused to press charges. When investigators contacted a victim, the woman refused to be interviewed because she didn't want to get dragged into the high-profile case, according to records obtained by The Smoking Gun.

Attempts to contact Roethlisberger's attorney failed, but Garland told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Monday he would not discuss any additional details about the case. "This matter is over," he said. "It is concluded, and I will not be answering any questions about the facts.” Roethlisberger has, through attorneys, maintained his innocence.

Under Georgia law, sexual assault covers a range of offenses from rape — with a minimum of 25 years imprisonment — to sexual battery, described as making "physical contact with the intimate parts of the body of another person" without consent.




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