Now that the criminal investigation in Milledgeville, Georgia has ended, police have released 572 pages of records relating to the alleged events of the night of March 4 and the early morning of March 5.
The documents contain among other things the statements of the alleged victim and her friends. And it’s not pretty, primarily since the documents paint the clearest picture yet of the behavior, legal or not, in which Roethlisberger was engaged on the evening in question.
From The Smoking Gun, here’s the relevant portion of the alleged victim’s detailed statement, which was given the morning after the alleged incident:
“Ben asked us to go to his ‘VIP’ area. . . . We all went with him. He said there were shots for us, numerous shots were on the bar, and he told us to take them. His bodyguard came and took my arm and said come with me, he escorted me into a side door/hallway, and sat me on a stool. He left and Ben came back with his penis out of his pants. I told him it wasn’t OK, no, we don’t need to do this and I proceeded to get up and try to leave. I went to the first door I saw, which happened to be a bathroom. He followed me into the bathroom and shut the door behind him. I still said no, this is not OK, and he then had sex with me. He said it was OK. He then left without saying anything. I went out of the hallway/door to the side where I saw my friends. We left [the club] and went to the first police car we saw.”
As it turns out, the alleged victim gave two handwritten statements. The statement given after the passage of time is neat and legible. The earlier one is hard to read, since it was written while the alleged victim was still intoxicated. Here’s part of what it said:
“His bodyguards took him back to the rooms w/bathroom and I said, ‘I don’t know if this is a good idea’ and he said ‘it’s OK.’ He has sex w/me and meanwhile his bodyguards told me friends they couldn’t pass them to get to me. My friends found me & talked to a Milledgeville policeman and he said to report it.”
During his Monday press conference, district attorney Fred Bright mentioned the sketchy initial statement followed by the more detailed second statement. He also pointed out that, at the hospital, the alleged victim said, “A boy kind of raped me.” Moreover, the officer who received the initial complaint wrote that the alleged victim’s recollection was “foggy from to [sic] her intoxication level.”
The inconsistencies in her statements and her intoxication create fertile ground for “reasonable doubt.” Though this gives rise to an unfortunate reality that women who are intoxicated will have difficulty obtaining justice if raped, the fact remains that our legal system employs a high standard of proof in order to ensure that innocent men are not wrongfully imprisoned (notwithstanding all of the supposedly innocent men who already are in prison).
Meanwhile, we detected a strong degree of consistency and credibility regarding the statements from the alleged victim’s friends, who nevertheless could contribute only circumstantial evidence to the investigation, since no one saw the exchange between Roethlisberger and the alleged victim. For example, Ann Marie Lubatti said that she saw Roethlisberger’s bodyguards guide the alleged victim to a side door, and that two minutes later she saw Roethlisberger walk back there. “I immediately went up to the other bodyguard and said, ‘this isn’t right,’” Lubatti said in her statement. “‘My friend is back there with Ben. She needs to come back right now.’ The bodyguard wouldn’t look at me, he just said, ‘I don’t know what you are talking about.’”
Lubatti wrote that she saw Nicole Biancofiore approach the manager of the nightclub, and that Biancofiore told him to unlock the door to the hallway. The manager said, “Ben’s an NFL quarterback, he won’t do anything to ruin his reputation.”
Lubatti also corroborates the allegation from the alleged victim’s legible statement regarding Roethlisbergers “penis already out of his pants.”
Nicole Biancofiore’s statement corroborates much of Lubatti’s, but does not mention the remark about Roethlisberger exposing himself upon entering the room.
So while Bright concluded that he could not obtain a conviction (he said Monday at his press conference that he didn’t believe there was even probable cause to arrest), Bright echoed on Monday the opinions of many regarding the evening in question.
“It is unclear, it is foggy, what exactly happened in that bathroom,” Bright said, “but
if I was there coaching him I’d say, ‘Ben, you don’t need to do this. You don’t need to put yourself in a position where you’re alone in this
dingy bathroom with you and this girl. That’s foolish. Grow up. You need
to be a role model. You need to be a role model for your team, your
city, the NFL. You can do better.’ And I hope he’s learned something
from this. I really do.”
It’s unclear whether he has. After the Commissioner and/or the Rooneys impose their discipline, it’s far more likely that he will.