Roethlisberger Named in Lawsuit

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger was accused of sexual assault in a civil lawsuit filed in Nevada by a woman who worked at a Lake Tahoe resort at which Roethlisberger was staying, according to the lawsuit, for a celebrity golf tournament last year.

The lawsuit was filed Friday and names eight other defendants, accusing the hotel's security chief and other hotel employees of defamation and failing to properly investigate her accusation against Roethlisberger.

An attorney for Roethlisberger, David Cornwell, denied that Roethlisberger sexually assaulted the woman.

Cornwell said in a written statement issued late Monday that Roethlisberger "has never sexually assaulted anyone."

Cornwell also said in the 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.

"Ben will not be baited into a public discussion about his personal life, but we will defend him vigorously. The limited value that [the plaintiff] derived from public disclosure of these viciously false allegations is the only value she will ever receive from Ben in this case."

The woman's attorney, Calvin R. Dunlap of Reno, Nev., told the Associated Press in an e-mail, "Neither I nor our client will be making any comment."

The Washington Post is not publishing the woman's name because of the nature of the allegations in the case.

The 36-page lawsuit says the woman was working in a concierge-like capacity on the penthouse floor at Harrah's Lake Tahoe on July 11, 2008 when the incident occurred. According to the lawsuit, she was the hotel's VIP services manager.

-- NFL DISCOURAGES BETTING: There is support on Capitol Hill for overturning a new Delaware law permitting betting on sports.

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) wrote a letter this week to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. urging him to enforce a federal ban on sports betting in Delaware and New Jersey.

In the letter, dated Monday, the lawmakers write that "sports betting threatens the integrity of the pastimes our citizens enjoy and the nature of the games they follow" and ask Holder to "defend this statute in any pending litigation and to closely follow the events in Delaware to prevent any violations of federal law."

-- Mark Maske

© 2009 The Washington Post Company