Skip to main content

Accuser said Roethlisberger's temper, size difference intimidated her

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. -- A Georgia college student said she felt powerless to stop a short-tempered Ben Roethlisberger from having sex with her in a bar bathroom even though she told him to stop, telling investigators: "I'm a little girl, and he's a big boy."

The woman's interviews with police were among more than 50 audio and video clips released Wednesday from the investigation into Roethlisberger's late-night carousing in a Georgia college town, a sordid incident that didn't result in criminal charges but reinforced his reputation for petulant behavior and earned him an NFL suspension.

The DVDs offered the first extensive account by the accuser, who hasn't spoken publicly, as well as less than a minute of shaky Roethlisberger footage from the club. With loud music blaring, the Pittsburgh Steelers star asks a girl what her drink tastes like, doles out high-fives, strikes a pose, punches his fist in the air twice and flashes a huge grin for the camera.

Before the night was done, Roethlisberger was accused of sexually assaulting the 20-year-old woman, who said she didn't try to fight him off because he appeared to anger easily.


[ For more on all 32 NFL teams, check out the latest from our bloggers.

» ](**Blog Blitz**

"I noticed throughout the night he kind of had like a short temper, like he would get really, like, defensive," she told investigators, but she didn't elaborate on what made her believe that.

The local prosecutor determined there wasn't enough evidence to warrant criminal charges, and he said the woman ultimately asked him not to prosecute Roethlisberger.

The accuser was interviewed twice by police -- the first time shortly after she made the accusation early March 5, and a second time about 12 hours later at the police station.

The woman sounded intoxicated when she spoke with Milledgeville officer Jason Lopez in the first interview. Her words were slurred, and she even said at one point, "Obviously, I'm drunk." An audio recording of that interview was made.

During the first interview, the woman said she repeatedly told Roethlisberger, "I really don't think this is OK," but couldn't stop him from having sex with her.

"I don't know what I can ... do," she said. "I'm a little girl, and he's a big boy."

The accuser told police she is 5-foot-4 and weighs 145 pounds. Roethlisberger is listed at 6-5 and 241 pounds.

Lopez asked the woman if she knew why Roethlisberger would feel "it was OK to do this to you."

While the accuser acknowledged wearing an explicit name tag, which was left over from a friend's birthday party earlier in the night, she denied leading on the quarterback.

"I wasn't forward in any way," she said. "I wasn't like, 'Oh my gosh, have sex with me because you're an NFL superstar.'"

The next afternoon, the woman went to the police station for a follow-up interview that was videotaped. She was calm and matter-of-fact when discussing the previous night, struggling to remember a few details but adamant that she had been assaulted by Roethlisberger. She said Roethlisberger first exposed himself to her in a hallway, then followed her into the bathroom.

In the video, the woman's face was blurred. She was wearing a navy blue T-shirt and jeans, and she had her blonde hair pulled back. She told police she didn't believe trying to fight Roethlisberger would stop the assault.

"I figured it wouldn't help anything," she said. "I didn't want, obviously, him to hurt me any more than he was going to."

The videos are the most extensive account yet by the accuser, though written statements she gave investigators have been released. She hasn't returned calls seeking comment. The Associated Press generally doesn't name people who say they were sexually assaulted.

Nicole Biancofiore, a friend of the accuser, also said she saw Roethlisberger flash his temper when another friend hesitated to accept drinks from him.

"She said, 'I don't think we should,'" Biancofiore told investigators. "I turned back around, and he got really angry. He said, 'Forget it. You're done. That's it."

Roethlisberger participated in a Steelers practice session Wednesday, but he didn't talk with the media. He was escorted off the field by a team spokesman.

Later in an interview with WTAE-TV at his home, Roethlisberger apologized to the fans.

"I strive every day and I bust my butt to be the best quarterback in the NFL for these fans and the Steelers, but I'm going to strive even harder to be the best off the field -- to be the best role model and community leader and whatever I can be off the field," Roethlisberger said, according to excepts posted on the station's Web site.

"I owe that to the fans because I have made a lot of mistakes," Roethlisberger said, according to the station. "From the bottom of my heart, I'm so sorry to them if I've ever wronged even one fan. I am so sorry. I'm going to do everything in my power not to let it happen again."

The quarterback was suspended for the first six games of the upcoming season, though NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he could reduce it to four games if Roethlisberger shows he is committed to improving his off-the-field behavior.

Goodell has said the 28-year-old quarterback failed to meet the league's expectations for player behavior with his late-night antics.

One of the new videos showed the quarterback partying at the club where the accusation was made. The shaky 49-second video, shot by a member of his entourage, shows Roethlisberger wearing a black Nike baseball cap and black T-shirt with a devil's face on it. Most of what Roethlisberger is saying is drowned out by loud music in the club.

Roethlisberger also is being sued in Nevada by a woman who says he sexually assaulted her there in 2008. There were no charges brought in that case.

Roethlisberger's attorney has denied that his client did anything wrong in Georgia, where the quarterback owns a lake house near Milledgeville.

Ed Joyner, a Pennsylvania state trooper who's a friend of Roethlisberger and sometimes works as his personal assistant, said people were mobbing the quarterback all night.

"If he starts talking, I mean, he's like a magnet. They come and they come hard," Joyner told police. "These girls, I mean, they were all just one right after another. And then there was guys, too. I mean the guys were pretty heavy, too."

Joyner also told local police that he was worried his department would find out he was there.

At Steelers practice, several teammates said they didn't even know the DVDs were being released.

"It's not even something that's being discussed," backup quarterback Charlie Batch said. "It has nothing to do with football."

Offensive lineman Willie Colon -- the only teammate with Roethlisberger at the Georgia nightclub -- said he hasn't spoken with the quarterback about the case since the recordings came out.

"All I can do is just deal with whatever comes along with it," he said. "I just want to let everybody know I have a family and I'm a good man and I spoke freely in my interview (with Georgia investigators)."

Colon's hourlong interview with a GBI agent was one of the videos released Wednesday. He shed little light on the case, saying he didn't even know anything had occurred until he saw police at the club. He wasn't with Roethlisberger afterward, leaving in a separate car, though he was concerned about what impact the accusations would have.

"I'm a player, too," Colon told the officer in his interview. "I can't get in trouble. We've got to be more cautious about putting (ourselves) in situations where people can harm us."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.