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Monday, September 14, 2009
Lawyer: Affidavit should be disallowed

ESPN.com news services

CARSON CITY, Nev. -- A lawyer for several Lake Tahoe hotel employees named in a civil suit that accuses Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger of rape says the lawsuit and timing of events are the "cold, calculated vengeance of a woman scorned."

Margo Piscevich, in a motion filed Monday in Washoe District Court in Reno, further argues that Andrea McNulty's affidavit, filed last week, is "nothing more or less than media grandstanding" and should be stricken from the court record.

In the same filing, she opposed an earlier motion by McNulty's lawyer, Cal Dunlap, to amend his suit to name Harrah's corporate entity as a defendant.

Roethlisberger
Roethlisberger

Dunlap, who has repeatedly refused to comment on the case, could not be immediately reached Monday afternoon.

A VIP hostess at the Lake Tahoe hotel-casino, McNulty filed her lawsuit in July, alleging the two-time Super Bowl winner assaulted her July 11, 2008, in his hotel penthouse while attending a celebrity golf tournament.

The suit also names Harrah's President John Koster, security chief Guy Hyder, and six other current or former employees as defendants, alleging they orchestrated a cover-up of the incident.

McNulty says she was repeatedly hospitalized for emotional distress in the weeks and months afterward. Her suit seeks a minimum of $440,000 in damages from Roethlisberger, at least $50,000 in damages from the Harrah's officials and an unspecified amount of punitive damages.

Roethlisberger has denied the allegation and his lawyers have suggested McNulty is mentally unstable.

In her 54-page affidavit, McNulty said Roethlisberger lured her to his suite, saying his television wasn't working properly, and assaulted her. She said she reported the incident to Hyder the next day, but that he insisted it was "no big deal" and never followed up with an investigation.

McNulty never filed a criminal report with police, something advocates for sexual assault victims say is not uncommon.

But lawyers for Roethlisberger and the Harrah's defendants counter that e-mails contained in the court record from McNulty to Hyder and others show she was infatuated with Roethlisberger and boasted of having sex with him.

The e-mails, Piscevich said in Monday's motions, tell the "whole pathetic story."

Piscevich said the chronology of events suggests the actions of a woman scorned.

After having sex with Roethlisberger in July 2008 and telling a friend, former Harrah's hotel director Stacy Dingman, that Roethlisberger is "hot," Roethlisberger then ignores her, Piscevich said.

In January, after the Steelers win the AFC Championship and prepare for the Super Bowl, she changes her story, telling Dingman that Roethlisberger assaulted her, Piscevich said in the motion.

Piscevich said McNulty's suit was filed just as the NFL preseason was about to open, and that her affidavit was filed one day before the Steelers' 2009 opener last Thursday.

"The timing appears to be more than coincidence -- it seems to be rather the cold, calculated vengeance of a woman scorned," Piscevich wrote.

Dingman's lawyers, in a separate motion filed Monday, argue the allegations against her lack merit and should be dismissed.

McNulty alleges besides participating in the cover-up, Dingman told others at some point that the woman was treated for schizophrenia, attorney Dora Lane said.

Lane said Dingman denies the allegation, and attached an exhibit showing McNulty in late 2008 had been prescribed anti-psychotic medications that are used to treat schizophrenia, among other things.

Previous filings from Dunlap, McNulty's lawyer, included medical records and notes from a doctor who in December 2008 concluded she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and had suffered hallucinations after she learned that a soldier she had been courting via the Internet turned out to be a hoax.

Later handwritten notes by the doctor in January 2009 include a notation, "describes a sexual assault that occurred last summer."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.