Steelers Quarterback Has Civil Suit Filed Against Him Alleging Sexual Assault
On Monday, ProFootballTalk broke a story about a civil lawsuit filed against two-time Super Bowl winning Pittsburgh Steelers quarteback, Ben Roethlisberger. According to PFT, the civil complaint filed in Wahoe County, Nevada alleges sexual assault, although no criminal complaint has been filed and, it would appear, no criminal investigation has even been undertaken. PFT outlines some details of the civil suit here. profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2009/07/21/complaint-gets-very-specific-regarding-interaction-between-mcnulty-roethlisberger/
It’s hard to know who to believe.
Perhaps the plaintiff, Andrea McNulty, was so traumatized she didn’t go to the police. Maybe she had other reasons for not filing criminal charges, but given that more than 24 hours have elapsed since this story broke, I’m gonna go ahead and guess that no criminal suit was, in fact, filed. It doesn’t mean her allegations are untrue and reading them is fairly hair-raising.
But no matter how horrible the scenario, I feel like the Duke Lacrosse scandal a few years back is a cautionary tale that should stop all of us dead in our tracks before we rush off to make a judgment about Roethlisberger’s guilt or the veracity of McNulty’s claims. The charges are horrible. But the circumstances of the filing, the fact that she filed only a civil case, not one in in conjunction with a criminal one, combined with the fact that a year has passed since the alleged incident, makes her claims seem a little sketchy. I know, I know. Perhaps she’s been in contact with Roethlisberger’s lawyers all along, or perhaps she just found an attorney to represent her, or there were other reasons I haven’t thought of. We may never know the details of the timeline or why there is a notable lack of criminal charges, but those are facts worth noting.
When I started this little experiment with True/Slant, I wanted to write about sports, as in, actual on-field endeavors. I’m tired of all the shouting and hectoring about steroids and DUI’s, dog-fighting and agents. There’s so much noise out there. And I don’t have ready made opinions, so I’m loathe to pop off as easily as some others. Still, I feel like this had to be addressed (I can’t believe that the quarterback of my own hometown team is the one who made me break my unwritten rule so soon), if only to say that for now, I’m going to sit on the sidelines. It’s too easy to blame the victim given all the givens. But it’s just as tempting to dismiss all pro athletes as spoiled dicks, capable of heinous behavior. So count me out of the rush to judge Roethlisberger. And McNulty, for that matter. Not because I’m a biased Pittsburgh fan, but because of the Duke Lax case, because the allegations, if true are too horrible to comprehend, and because the facts, as they stand at the moment, leave any reasonable and prudent person scratching their head.
UPDATE. Subsequent to posting, I discovered the actual complaint in pdf format courtesy of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which lays out the time line pretty well. Below if you want to read it: