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Roethlisberger won't be charged in Georgia case

UPDATED (7:24 p.m.)...

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will not be charged with a crime for his role in an alleged incident last month in Milledgeville, Ga., the district attorney involved in the case announced Monday.

A 20-year-old college student had accused Roethlisberger of sexually assaulting her at a Milledgeville nightclub.

"The central allegation against Mr. Roethlisberger cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt," the district attorney for the Ocmulgee judicial court, Frederic D. Bright, said at a news conference.

Bright said that "who Mr. Roethlisberger is made no difference." He said that he met with the alleged victim 10 days earlier and she said that she did not want the case to be prosecuted. According to Bright, that sentiment by the woman first was expressed in a letter from her lawyer to Bright dated March 17. That was 12 days after the alleged incident.

"We are not condoning Mr. Roethlisberger's actions that night," Bright said. "But we do not prosecute morals. We prosecute crimes."

Bright said that "something may have happened, but that's not a conviction.... I know when I have a case and I know when I don't, and I do not have enough evidence to convince 12 jurors beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Roethlisberger would be guilty of the crime of rape."

Bright said the alleged incident occurred in a small bathroom at the nightclub and "significant questions about what occurred persist." The woman was intoxicated at the time of the alleged incident, Bright said. A doctor who examined the woman later that night was unable to determine if she'd been sexually assaulted, according to Bright.

Roethlisberger made a public statement Monday evening but did not answer questions from reporters.

"I'd like to begin by expressing gratitude for the thorough investigation process in Georgia and the prosecutor's decision not to bring charges," Roethlisberger said Monday evening at the Steelers' training facility. "I know without a doubt it was the right conclusion. I don't intend to discuss any details related to the events in Georgia and I'm happy to put this behind me and move forward. I am truly sorry for the disappointment and negative attention I have brought to my family, my teammates, coaches, the Rooneys [the owners of the Steelers] and the NFL.

"I understand that the opportunities I have been blessed with are a privilege and that much is expected of me as the quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I absolutely want to be the leader this team deserves, valued in the community and a role model to kids. I have much work to do to earn this trust and I am committed to improving and showing everyone my true values. I am excited to get back to work with my teammates and I'm more determined than ever to have a great season. I intend to make my family, friends and the Steeler nation proud on all fronts. Thank you and God bless."

Edward Garland, Roethlisberger's attorney, previously had said that Roethlisberger was innocent of any crime.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will meet with Roethlisberger in the "near future," a league spokesman said earlier Monday.

Greg Aiello, the NFL's senior vice president of public relations, said he could not provide further specifics about when the meeting will occur. Aiello said no decision about potential league discipline against Roethlisberger will be made until the facts are reviewed by the NFL.

Roethlisberger's meeting with Goodell apparently could come as soon as Tuesday in New York.

Goodell said at last month's annual league meeting that he would meet with Roethlisberger at the appropriate time.

The NFL's personal conduct policy empowers Goodell to impose discipline on a player, if Goodell deems it appropriate, even if the player is not convicted of a crime.

Steelers President Art Rooney II said in a written statement issued Monday by the Steelers: "The investigation process in Georgia has been deliberate and the District Attorney's decision regarding Ben Roethlisberger speaks for itself.

"During the past few weeks I have met with Ben on a number of occasions, not only to discuss this incident, but also to discuss his commitment to making sure something like this never happens again. The Pittsburgh Steelers take the conduct of players and staff very seriously. Ben will now have to work hard to earn back the respect and trust of Steelers fans, and to live up to the leadership responsibilities we all expect of him.

"In the coming days Ben will meet with Commissioner Goodell to discuss his resolve to abide by the league's personal conduct standards. After consultation with the Commissioner, our organization will determine the next steps in this process."

Roethlisberger, a two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback for the Steelers, also was accused in a civil lawsuit by a woman in Nevada of sexually assaulting her in a Lake Tahoe hotel room in 2008. Roethlisberger has not been charged with a crime in that case and has denied that allegation.

Goodell said last month at the league meeting in Orlando that he had discussed the matter with Rooney.

"We take the issue very seriously," Goodell said then. "We are concerned that Ben continues to put himself in this position.... At the appropriate time, I'll be meeting with Ben."

The league's personal conduct policy says that "all persons associated with the NFL are required to avoid 'conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the National Football League.'

"... While criminal activity is clearly outside the scope of permissible conduct, and persons who engage in criminal activity will be subject to discipline, the standard of conduct for persons employed in the NFL is considerably higher. It is not enough simply to avoid being found guilty of a crime. Instead, as an employee of the NFL or a member club, you are held to a higher standard and expected to conduct yourself in a way that is responsible, promotes the values upon which the League is based, and is lawful.

"Persons who fail to live up to this standard of conduct are guilty of conduct detrimentaland subject to discipline, even where the conduct itself does not result in conviction of a crime."

The policy says that "the Commissioner will have full authority to impose discipline as warranted."

It also says: "Discipline may take the form of fines, suspension, or banishment from the League and may include a probationary period and conditions that must be satisfied prior to or following reinstatement. The specifics of the disciplinary response will be based on the nature of the incident, the actual or threatened risk to the participant and others, any prior or additional misconduct (whether or not criminal charges were filed), and other relevant factors.

"Unless the case involves significant bodily harm, a first offense will generally not result in discipline until there has been a disposition of the proceeding (or until the investigation is complete in the case of employee or workplace misconduct).

"With respect to repeat offenders, the Commissioner may impose discipline on an expedited basis. In such cases, the timing and nature of the discipline will be determined by the Commissioner based on several factors including but not limited to: the severity of the initial charge and later charge; the facts underlying the later charge; the length of time between the initial offense and later charge; and the player or employee's compliance with counseling and other programs. Following a full investigation and/or resolution of the proceedings, the Commissioner will review the matter and make any appropriate adjustments."

By Mark Maske  |  April 12, 2010; 2:18 PM ET  | Category:  Steelers Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Comments

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Treat Ben the same way you treated Kobe Bryant. You think JTIII would get the same pass Rick Patino got for his behavior? Think JTIII woudl get a contract renewal after cheating on his wife and having to bring extortion charges against his mistress? Think about it.

Posted by: ged0386 | April 13, 2010 1:50 AM

And when white people are subjected to the same shiiiit black people are, like at UMD the police get called out for their behavior.

Posted by: ged0386 | April 13, 2010 1:38 AM

Dont get me wrong. The league should be hard on santonio holmes. But dont give Ben a pass as if he is not wrong. Holmes violated drug policy and should be held accountable but lets face it Ben should be held accountable for his behavior as well. Last season we had a white guy in the NFL play the whole season before he got a suspension for the same charge that holmes has. Keep it consistant is what I say. Just like with regular guys. If you are going to run up on three black guys, make them stand against the wall and search them under the assumption that they mey be dirty, do the same with three white guys. White guys get high too. Why arent they searched on the streets the same way black guys are? Dont get mad white people. You are not subjected to the same shiiiit.

Posted by: ged0386 | April 13, 2010 1:36 AM

Ok smart guy how about comparing him to Kobe Bryant or Ray Lewis. Guys who only needed accusations to get indictments? Black guys get indicted based on the same accusations that big ben had. In fact Ben has two rape allegations. Mike Tyson needed onlly accusation. He did 4 years in jail. If big ben were a black NFL QB he would be suspended. F@!k you and your defense of racism. You aint black so you dont know what it is like to be assumed guilty based on how you look. Ray Lewis had to defend himself for murder with not one witness accusing him of murder. Ben has two rape allegations. Screw you.

Posted by: ged0386 | April 13, 2010 1:29 AM

Slime, pure slime! "I absolutely want to be the leader this team deserves, valued in the community and a role model to kids"...spare me, it makes me want to puke!

Posted by: frameister | April 12, 2010 7:56 PM

He's a pig. There's a pattern with these incidents. He settled with this woman. I think the prosecutor withdrew the case after the woman withdrew -- after she was offered a settlement amount.

Posted by: daw1953 | April 12, 2010 7:36 PM

What about the case in Nevada? I say where there is smoke their is fire. Why didn't he stay at his home with 8 buddies he bused down to his Georgia home for his birthday party bash? Instead of going to a college kids night club. Kinda old for that!

Ole Ben allready had a bad rep with the way the talk has been going on in Pittsburg and before these 2 cases surfaced and in two different parts of the country and 2 different females.

I say suspend him before that smoke ignites into fire.

Posted by: mac7 | April 12, 2010 7:21 PM

regardless goodell is a racist if ben was black he would have already been suspended indefinitely. all u p%%ks hide behind these computers, know the truth !!!!!

Posted by: kd6300 | April 12, 2010 6:41 PM

Given Roethlisberger's looks -- which could stop a clock -- he could probably be charged with sexual assault if he told a woman to sit on his face. Roethlisberger is someone who is in the category of Should Be Convicted On Mug Shot Alone.

Posted by: angelos_peter | April 12, 2010 6:40 PM

the first comment about racism is so stupid. how can you compare ben rothensberger with tiger woods . woods was a total role model squeaky clean all american story. rothensberger always had a drunken womanizer past. woods was put on public trial because he was so perfect . americans love to tear down their heroes . how can you read race into this ? i don't think any white american ever thinks of woods as being that "black guy " lets go get him . woods matter should have been private between him and his wife ,but the public incident brought it all out . when you make that much money sometimes you have that price to pay

Posted by: flrman101 | April 12, 2010 6:37 PM

We hardly heard a peep about this two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback (white man) being in court after having been accused of the serious CRIME of rape for the second time in 8 months
but for 5 months we heard non-stop about Tiger Woods (black man) having affairs (not a crime).

As with the teabaggers, racism is alive and well.

Posted by: Eddie14 | April 12, 2010 6:18 PM

Big Ben, when you follow an intoxicated college kid into a 1 commode womens's rest room,, the size of a broom closet, it isn't to sober her up. You are a disgrace, and hopefully will get caught and jailed b/4 you do some serious damage to some other naive co-ed.

Posted by: jemvbcarmagh06 | April 12, 2010 6:15 PM

NO FLAG! NO FLAG!. Pittsburgh's Ball, first antd Ten. PLAY BALL!

Posted by: theFieldMarshall | April 12, 2010 6:12 PM

She is just following in the footsteps of Tawana Brawley, Crystal Gayle Mangum, and the Hofstra University b!tch.

Posted by: JERRYB1 | April 12, 2010 5:59 PM

As there are no charges filed, all we know for sure is that Ben is guilty of participating in consentual bathroom sex with a drunk, female college student. If the student had been male and the NFL was considering disciplinary action, there would be an outrage. It just serves to show us all how truly screwed up our world is.

Posted by: blasmaic | April 12, 2010 5:51 PM

This doesn't mean he's not guilty......it just means he's got money for a good lawyer, and his posse to "cover" him. He's an embarassment to the NFL. He'll end up in jail someday though. I just hope he doesn't hurt another girl. Where there's smoke there's fire.

Posted by: tuttlegroup | April 12, 2010 5:39 PM

Sounds to me like a drunk 20 something threw herself at a big name NFL quarterback and then regretted in the next morning.

Posted by: wolfcastle | April 12, 2010 5:38 PM

These scams are nothing new. Young, rich professional athletes - although talented, generally are not the brightest of people - make themselves vulnerable targets once they begin surrounding themselves with the type who exploit sex

Posted by: ShakeAppeal | April 12, 2010 5:37 PM

This doesn't mean he's not guilty......it just means he's got money for a good lawyer, and his posse to "cover" him. He's an embarassment to the NFL. He'll end up in jail someday though. I just hope he doesn't hurt another girl. Where there's smoke there's fire.

Posted by: tuttlegroup | April 12, 2010 5:34 PM

Do Steelers fans a favor Ben and stay away from women for awhile. Okay? Just go home and work in the yard or something. Quit trying to dodge bullets.

Posted by: Train413 | April 12, 2010 5:27 PM

Yes, you are naive. Just because the criminal justice system doesn't have enough evidence to convict someone doesn't mean that he DIDN'T do it. (Read: OJ Simpson, Kobe Bryant.)

Where there is smoke there is fire. Two women claiming assault makes me think this is another entitled athlete thinking he can get away with whatever he wants. At least Tiger had the decency to pay for it. And he is an over-rated qb anyway.

Posted by: BKDenver | April 12, 2010 5:27 PM

Think that it is time for the Steelers to look for another QB. Sounds like Big Ben has not grown up, and who knows, maybe never will. Trouble just follows him around, and one of these days it is going to catch him and not let go!

Posted by: wheeljc | April 12, 2010 5:20 PM

Ok, the girl is TWENTY YEARS OLD, and DRUNK. Which means this stupid woman was drinking underaged.

HELLO, she had to drop the case because the ones who would've gotten busted were this chick, and the BAR, not Ben.

Posted by: TonyV1 | April 12, 2010 5:18 PM

This woman & any other "ladies" like her should be taken out & shot for disrespecting a living football legend like Roethlisberger.

Women can't handle their alcohol. Maybe they shouldn't drink at all. Falling down in their high heels. Passing out on the sidewalk.

Posted by: uncivil | April 12, 2010 4:57 PM

Maybe I'm naive but I believe in the criminal justice system. Just b/c someone is accused of a crime doesn't mean they did it. I guess I just think in this particular case, if something illegal had actually happened he would be charged at least. There's no way he actually sexually assualted her and then paid her off- show me a woman that would take money after some guy violated her like that. The proof is in the pudding.

Posted by: jakeyrotten | April 12, 2010 2:57 PM

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