Thursday, March 25, 2010

Roethlisberger accuser apparently not cooperating; Ga. officials drop call for Roethlisberger's DNA

A report out of Pittsburgh says that the alleged victim in the Ben Roethlisberger "sexual assault" case has declined to be re-interviewed by police.  Roethlisberger is the two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and one of the highest profile men falsely accused of rape in recent times.

"Sources close to the investigation say that investigators have had trouble re-interviewing the woman since the night of the incident. Sources say the 20-year-old co-ed did not show up for a scheduled interview a week ago yesterday and that as of Friday she still had not come in to be questioned. And the same source says the investigation seems to have it a brick wall."

The report also notes: "In an interview, lead investigator Tom Davis of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation openly discussed the fact that Roethlisberger has not been re-interviewed, but declined to comment on whether the victim had been re-interviewed."  Link:

This revelation follows closely the news that Georgia authorities no longer are requesting Roethlisberger's DNA, potentially significant because it means there is no physical evidence linking Roethlisberger to any potential crime.  Georgia officials previously sought the DNA, likely indicative that they had determined it somehow would be necessary or helpful to determining if a crime was committed.  No one has explained why the request was dropped.

Mike Florio of NBC Sports wrote this: ". . . there's the possibility that there has been a secret and confidential settlement, and that the deal specifically required her to no longer cooperate with the criminal investigation."

Sorry, Mike.  Any such contract would not be worth the ink used to sign it.  Any bargain for the purpose of stifling a criminal prosecution, whether or not the bargain is criminal, is always contrary to public policy and unenforceable.

Comment: Now, apparently, Mr. Roethlisberger is in a waiting game. We know that he has refused to be interviewed by police beyond his initial cooperation the night of the purported incident.  It is likely that his counsel knows that the young woman is not cooperating and that there is no reason to subject Big Ben to the ordeal of an interview, where one slip ultimately could prove fatal, assuming the young woman changes her mind and decides to cooperate.

For what other crime do we so readily hand one group of private citizens the power to deprive another group of private citizens their liberty?  Mr. Roethlisberger's liberty, and his future as an NFL star, could ride on whether the 20-year-old accuser decides to press charges.

Given the nature of these types of claims, even if the investigation closes without charges against Mr. Roethlisberger, the young woman likely won't be charged for filing a false report.  That means that even though he could be completely innocent, Ben Roethlisberger will always carry the taint of a man who possibly committed sexual assault.  That is neither fair nor just, and it's one of the reasons we advocate for the presumed innocent charged with rape and sexual assault to retain their anonymity unless and until convicted.