Police release evidence in Big Ben case
MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. (AP)
The college student who accused Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger of sexually assaulting her said she didn't try to fight him off because he appeared earlier in the night to have a short temper.
"I noticed throughout the night he kind of had like a short temper, like he would get really like defensive,'' she told police in her second interview with them on March 5, about 12 hours after she said the assault took place. She didn't elaborate further on what made her think the quarterback had a short temper.
BIG BEN BUSTEDGet to the real stories surrounding the NFL's suspension of Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger.
The accuser's interview is among more than 50 audio and video recordings released Wednesday by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The prosecutor determined there wasn't enough evidence to warrant criminal charges after the investigation concluded, and he said the woman ultimately asked him not to prosecute the quarterback.
One of the new videos shows Roethlisberger smiling, giving people high-fives and pumping his fist at the club where the woman said she was assaulted.
The 20-year-old accuser was interviewed twice by police - the first time shortly after she made the accusation early March 5 in the small college town of Milledgeville, about 80 miles southeast of Atlanta. The second interview was about 12 hours later at the Milledgeville police station.
The woman sounded intoxicated when she spoke with Milledgeville officer Jason Lopez in the first interview. Her words were slurred and she even says at one point, "Obviously, I'm drunk.'' An audio recording of that interview was made.
During the first interview, she said she repeatedly told Roethlisberger, "I really don't think this is OK,'' but couldn't stop him from having sex with her in the bathroom of a bar.
"I don't know what I can ... do,'' she said. "I'm a little girl and he's a big boy.''
The next afternoon, she went to the police station for a follow-up interview that was videotaped. She was calm and matter-of-fact when discussing the alleged attack, struggling to remember a few details from the previous night but adamant that she had been raped by Roethlisberger.
In the video, the woman's face was blurred. She was wearing a navy blue T-shirt and jeans and had her blond hair pulled back. She told police she didn't think trying to fight Roethlisberger would stop the assault.
"I figured it wouldn't help anything,'' she said. "I didn't want, obviously, him to hurt me any more than he was going to.''
The new videos include the first extensive comments by the woman that have been made public, though written statements she gave investigators have been released. She has declined interview requests. The Associated Press generally doesn't name those who say they were sexually assaulted, and authorities haven't released her name.
The quarterback was suspended for the first six games of the upcoming season, though commissioner Roger Goodell said he could reduce it to four games if Roethlisberger shows he is committed to improving his off-the-field behavior.
Roethlisberger also is being sued in Nevada by a woman who says he sexually assaulted her there in 2008. There were no charges brought in that case.
His attorney has denied he did anything wrong in Georgia, where he owns a lake house near Milledgeville.
In suspending Roethlisberger, Goodell has said the 28-year-old failed to meet the league's expectations for player behavior with his carousing.
One of the new videos shows the quarterback partying at the club where the accusation was made. The shaky 49-second video, shot by a member of Roethlisberger's entourage, shows the quarterback, wearing a black Nike baseball cap and black T-shirt with a devil's face on it.
Most of what Roethlisberger is saying is drowned out by loud music in the club, but he can be heard asking a girl what her drink tastes like.
He repeatedly gives high fives to people off camera. When the friend shooting the video asks him to say hi, he strikes a pose, punches his fist twice in the air and flashes a huge grin at the camera.