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Sports - National sports

Thursday, Apr. 15, 2010

Roethlisberger's accuser says she told him 'no'

- Associated Press Writer

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. -- The 20-year-old college student who accused Ben Roethlisberger of sexual assault told police she tried to get away from the Pittsburgh Steelers star, but he cornered her in a nightclub bathroom.

The woman's statements to police were included in hundreds of pages of police documents released Thursday. Earlier this week, prosecutors said no charges would be filed against Roethlisberger, who has denied the college student's accusations through his attorney.

The student told police Roethlisberger assaulted her in the bathroom of a bar in the college town of Milledgeville early on the morning of March 5. They had met earlier in the night as they bar-hopped, she with her sorority sisters and he with an entourage.

On Friday, Milledgeville Police Chief Woodrow Blue confirmed that Sgt. Jerry Blash, the officer who took the first report from Roethlisberger's accuser, resigned from the force Wednesday, a day before the Georgia Bureau of Investigation released the case documents.

The documents show Blash acknowledged to investigators that he made derogatory statements about Roethlisberger's accuser to other officers and that some in Roethlisberger's party may have overheard him. He was the only officer to interview Roethlisberger, with whom he had posed for pictures earlier in the night. Calls to a number listed for him rang unanswered Thursday evening and Friday.

The documents also show that after the college student's accusations surfaced, a 16-year-old in a youth law enforcement program run by the Milledgeville police told authorities he had been told about incidents involving Roethlisberger and a friend's sister. The 16-year-old told police the woman's brother told him that Roethlisberger twice made unwanted sexual advances.

Authorities repeatedly tried to interview the woman, who is in her early 20s, but she declined. A message seeking comment was left Friday with Roethlisberger's lawyer, Ed Garland.

The documents released Thursday for the first time detail the events through the eyes of Roethlisberger's accuser.

In a statement to police on March 5, the young woman said Roethlisberger encouraged her and her friends to do numerous shots. Then one of his bodyguards escorted her into a hallway at the Capital City nightclub, sat her on a stool and left. She said Roethlisberger walked down the hallway and exposed himself.

"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," she said, according to the police documents. "I went to the first door I saw, which happened to be a bathroom."

According to her statement, Roethlisberger then followed her into the bathroom and shut the door.

"I still said no, this is not OK, and he then had sex with me," she wrote. "He said it was OK. He then left without saying anything."

Two of her friends said they saw a bodyguard lead her into the hallway and then saw Roethlisberger follow. They said they couldn't see their friend but knew she was drunk and were worried about her.

Ann Marie Lubatti told police she approached one of Roethlisberger's two bodyguards and said, "This isn't right. My friend is back there with Ben. She needs to come back right now."

She said the bodyguard wouldn't look her in the eye and said he didn't know what she was talking about. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation identified that bodyguard as Ed Joyner, a Pennsylvania trooper, and the man who led Roethlisberger's accuser down the hallway as Anthony Barravecchio, an officer on the force in the Pittsburgh suburb of Coraopolis.

AP Sports Writer Alan Robinson in Pittsburgh contributed to this report.
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