In a complaint that reads like the rape allegations made several years ago against NBA star Kobe Bryant, Harrah’s employee Andrea McNulty alleges sexual assault against Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in a lawsuit filed last week in Washoe County, Nevada.
But lawyer David Cornwell strongly denied the allegations Monday night, in a statement released to PFT. “Ben has never sexually assaulted anyone; especially Andrea McNulty,” Cornwell said.
In the civil suit, which Cornwell confirms was served on Roethlisberger over the weekend and a copy of which our own Gregg Rosenthal has obtained, McNulty alleges that Roethlisberger asked her to come to his hotel room to fix the television, and that he thereafter forced her to have sex with him.
Roethlisberger faces one civil count of assault, one civil count of sexual assault and battery, one civil count of false imprisonment, one civil count of false pretenses, one civil count of fraud, and one civil count of intentonal infliction of emtional distress.
McNulty also claims that the coworkers named in the complaint thereafter defamed her by making allegedly false and inflammatory statements, and by allegedly serving as aiders and abettors of Roethlisberger’s alleged misconduct after the fact.
Cornwell, a finalist for the position of NFLPA Executive Director who has represented in the recent past Saints running back Reggie Bush and Browns receiver Donte’ Stallworth, points to the fact that no criminal complaint has been filed, and that no criminal investigation has occurred.
“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,” Cornwell said. “If an investigation is commenced, Ben will cooperate fully and Ben will be fully exonerated.”
It’s unknown at this point whether McNulty ever has attempted to file criminal charges as a result of the incident, which allegedly occurred in July 2008.
“Ben will not be baited into a public discussion about his personal life, but we will defend
him vigorously,” Cornwell said. “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.”
Regardless of how this one turns out, it has the potential to serve as a significant distraction for Roethlisberger as the 2009 season approaches, especially if the lawsuit triggers a criminal probe.
UPDATE: Steelers spokesman Dave Lockett acknowledged the situation to WTAE-TV late Monday night. “We are aware of the allegations but cannot comment on the specifics of
the case,” Lockett said. “We’ve been told Ben’s side of the story and we fully support
him at this time.”