Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Lawsuit against Foster alleges assault
ESPN.com news services
INDIANAPOLIS -- A 22-year-old hotel receptionist has filed a lawsuit against Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Eric Foster, claiming he sexually assaulted her in his room before the AFC Championship Game in January.
The complaint accuses Foster of luring the woman into his room at the University Place Hotel in Indianapolis on Jan. 24 before the Colts played the New York Jets under the pretense that there was a maintenance problem.
Once she was in his room, Foster exposed himself to the woman, touched and groped her and forced the woman to "engage in deviate sexual acts," the complaint alleges.
In the suit, which was filed April 13 in Marion County Circuit Court and seeks unspecified damages, the woman accuses Foster of sexual assault, battery, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
"We will look at the facts but will not speculate what, if any, action could be taken" against Foster under the league's personal conduct policy, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Tuesday.
Colts spokesman Craig Kelley declined to comment Tuesday. Foster's agent Joby Branion and his attorney Jim Voyles did not return calls seeking comment. The woman's attorney, April Board, also did not return messages seeking comment Tuesday.
The woman decided to sue Foster after prosecutors declined to file charges against him.
The woman, who is a student at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis, filed a report with IUPUI police after the alleged assault. The Associated Press is not naming the woman because it generally does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault.
Campus police interviewed the woman and Foster and reviewed surveillance videos and the alleged crime scene, said IUPUI spokesman Rich Schneider. The hotel is located on campus property.
Barbara Crawford, chief of the Marion County prosecutor's office's criminal charging division, said a detective from IUPUI's police department turned over his report on the alleged assault to her staff in February to weigh possible charges.
She said she and several staff members reviewed the officer's report and decided not to file criminal charges against Foster.
"We reviewed it and we made a determination that we could not file charges," she said. "There was not sufficient factual information to allow us to go forward with criminal charges."
Foster has a career total of 87 tackles in his two seasons with the Colts, according to the team's website. He started five of 16 games in 2009 and appeared as reserve defensive lineman in the divisional playoffs, the AFC Championship Game and in Super Bowl XLIV.
The lawsuit against Foster comes as prosecutors in Georgia declined to charge Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger after a college student accused him of sexual assault in March. He is also being sued by a different woman who says he raped her in 2008. Roethlisberger denies the accusation and was not charged. He has claimed counter-damages in a lawsuit.
On Monday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Roethlisberger violated the league's personal conduct policy. The NFL is expected to discipline him.
Information from The Associated Press and ESPN.com NFL writer Paul Kuharsky was used in this report.