Friday, April 16, 2010
Cop in Roethlisberger case resigns
ESPN.com news services
ATLANTA -- The Georgia police officer who took the first report from the woman who accused Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger of sexual assault has resigned.
Milledgeville police Chief Woodrow Blue on Friday confirmed that Sgt. Jerry Blash resigned Wednesday, a day before the Georgia Bureau of Investigation made public all documents related to its investigation of a 20-year-old woman's claim that Roethlisberger sexually assaulted her in a nightclub.
Prosecutors announced earlier this week that they are not charging Roethlisberger in the March 5 incident. Blash is the only officer who interviewed the quarterback. He acknowledged in an interview with investigators that he made some derogatory comments about the accuser to other officers, and that some in Roethlisberger's party may have overheard him.
Multiple calls to a phone number listed for Blash went unanswered.
Photos surfaced online a week later of Roethlisberger smiling alongside Blash at the Milledgeville nightclub where the alleged assault took place. Blue said the photos were taken hours before the allegation was made.
Blue said on March 12 that beyond filing the report, Blash was not involved in the investigation.
The accuser, a college student, said she tried to get away from Roethlisberger while in the bar, named Capital City, and told him, "No, this is not OK," according to the police documents released Thursday.
In a statement to police on March 5, the woman said Roethlisberger encouraged her and her friends to take numerous shots of alcohol. Then one of his bodyguards escorted her into a hallway at the 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. "I went to the first door I saw, which happened to be a bathroom."
According to her statement, Roethlisberger then followed her 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."
Also revealed in the GBI reports released Thursday was the fact investigators wanted to talk with a woman about a separate incident reportedly involving Roethlisberger.
The documents show that after the alleged assault in Milledgeville, a 16-year-old in a youth law enforcement program told authorities he knew about incidents involving Roethlisberger and a friend's sister.
Authorities repeatedly sought to interview the woman, who is in her early 20s, but she declined. The teen had said he believed the two-time Super Bowl winner twice made unwanted sexual advances toward the woman.
A message seeking comment was left Friday with Roethlisberger's lawyer, Ed Garland.
Roethlisberger also is being sued in civil court by a former Nevada hotel employee for an alleged sexual assault in 2008. No criminal charges were filed in that case.
In the meantime, the fallout continues to affect the Steelers, this time in the pocketbook. The behavior of Roethlisberger and former Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes might result in a fine by the NFL of as much as $200,000.
Holmes, traded Sunday to the New York Jets, is suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the league's substance abuse policy, and has been involved in a number of incidents that put him in a bad light.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.