In the news story printed below this comment, another young male celebrity has been accused of sexual assault. This time it's Super Bowl quarterback Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers. His accuser apparently never pursued criminal charges, and her allegation is made in the context of a civil suit seeking monetary relief. The burden of proof in a civil action is a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not) as opposed to the criminal standard, beyond a reasonable doubt.
Those who assert that false rape claims are a myth often raise what they think is a rhetorical question: what possible motive could a woman have to lie about rape? Of course women have plenty of motives to lie. The most authoritative, even-hand study of false rape claims ever conducted demonstrated this beyond any question. The better question is, since false rape claims are so easy to make and almost impossible to completely disprove, why don't more women make them? The answer, I suspect, lies in the fact that most women are decent people. The ones who aren't, though, can, and often do, destroy the lives and reputations of innocent males based on nothing more than a rape allegation.
Why do women file civil claims alleging rape? Many if not most such claims against famous young men seem to amount to nothing more than shakedowns. This website is one of the few in the world devoted exclusively to giving voice to those falsely accused of rape and sexual assault, and we do that by telling their stories. Anyone who thinks rape accusers don't often lie out of selfish motives would do well to spend a couple of days reading on this website the true-life accounts of the countless men and boys falsely accused of this terrible crime.
We don't know what happened here beyond what the news report shows. We do know that countless young men in the limelight are subjected to false rapes claims. It is an occupational hazard of being a famous young male.
Some might have forgotten that now-retired and beloved ex-Pittsburgh Steeler Jerome Bettis once was subjected to a rape claim. In that case, the District Attorney said there was "clear" evidence that the accuser's uncle planned to use the allegation to extort money from Bettis, and no charges were brought against the popular Steeler.
At that time of Bettis' exoneration, then-Steelers' coach Bill Cowher made two points that are applicable here: First, Cowher hoped Bettis' exoneration "gets the same amount of attention as the initial headlines got." Amen, Coach. An unsubstantiated rape claim by a lone accuser garners big headlines, but what of the exoneration? Does not the press owe the presumed innocent male a duty to furnish equal publicity? In Roethlisberger's case, since there are no criminal charges, there won't be an exoneration, but my bet is there will be a dismissal with prejudice. Will there be the same sort of news coverage for it?
In addition, Coach Cowher said this about the Bettis exoneration: "Cowher said the matter illustrated that players are in the public eye and must be careful."
Hmm . . . If the Coach publicly stated that young women need to be careful in their dealings with men, the same crowd that insists false rape claims are a "myth" would brand such a statement "victim blaming" and probably call Cowher a "misogynist."
The fact is, it's damn good advice for both genders -- but especially for famous young males who are too often subjected to shakedowns by women who realize the power of a rape lie.
HERE IS THE NEWS STORY:
Roethlisberger named in Reno case
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been named a defendant in a defamation lawsuit that was filed last week in Reno, Nev.
A copy of the lawsuit was not available last night, but a court docket entry showed that a civil complaint was filed on Friday in Washoe County, Nev., accusing Mr. Roethlisberger of libel and slander.
The lawsuit was filed by a woman identified as Andrea McNulty. It named Mr. Roethlisberger and eight other defendants. They include: John Koster, Guy Hyder, Mark Masters, Dave Monroe, Mike Rosenow, Debbie Neall, Bryan Casuscelli and Stacy Dingman.
The complaint was filed by attorney Calvin R. Dunlap, of Reno, who could not be reached for comment.
Atlanta-based sports attorney David Cornwell issued a statement on Mr. Roethlisberger's behalf late last night.
"This weekend Andrea McNulty served Ben Roethlisberger with a civil complaint accusing him of sexually assaulting her in July 2008. Ben has never sexually assaulted anyone; especially Andrea McNulty. 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 Ms. McNulty derived from public disclosure of these viciously false allegations is the only value she will ever receive from Ben in this case," the statement said.
Mr. Cornwell declined to elaborate.