Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Coraopolis probe will last until July
PITTSBURGH -- It will be "months as opposed to weeks" before the attorney for a Pittsburgh suburb recommends whether a police officer should be disciplined for being with Ben Roethlisberger the night he was accused of sexual assault in Georgia.
Coraopolis solicitor Richard Start said Tuesday that he had finished reviewing the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's 500-page file on the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback's night out in Milledgeville on March 5.
Start initially planned to recommend to Coraopolis council whether Officer Anthony Barravecchio should be disciplined based solely on that review. But Start told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he was continuing to investigate and wouldn't finish until at least July.
"I spoke without having read the file. Once I read the file, the time parameters I spoke of were not realistic," Start said.
Witnesses and Roethlisberger's accuser say a man investigators later identified as Barravecchio escorted the 20-year-old woman down a hallway to a rest room where she says Roethlisberger forced her to have sex. A Georgia prosecutor decided there was not enough evidence to charge Roethlisberger.
Barravecchio's attorney has denied his client did anything wrong and specifically denies that Barravecchio led the accuser to the rest room.
Start said he cannot comment on his continuing investigation, including who he will speak to as part of it or why he determined the need to extend his review.
Start said it will "take months as opposed to weeks" to finish his investigation, and that the earliest he will make a recommendation to borough council will be July. Barravecchio remains on normal duty, he said.
The Pennsylvania State Police are investigating the actions of another police officer friend of Roethlisberger's who was present that night, Trooper Ed Joyner.
State police permitted Joyner to work as Roethlisberger's personal assistant, but the agency rescinded that permission because of the Georgia accusations. Joyner has appealed through the state troopers' union.
Coraopolis has no similar rule requiring consent for outside work. If it's determined he subjected his department to disrepute, the officer could face unspecified discipline for conduct unbecoming an officer, Start said.
Start said he would be willing to speak to the state police about their companion investigation, but wouldn't say if he had made such a request.
State police spokeswoman Lt. Myra Taylor did not immediately return a message seeking comment Tuesday. She previously said the Joyner investigation may not wrap up until August.
Barravecchio's attorney, Michael Santicola, said he did not believe that there had been any change in the situation.
"We are confident that the result will not change and they will find no reason for disciplinary action," he said.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation report says Barravecchio told investigators he spent most of his time at the club seated on a barstool by the door to the back hallway and didn't see or hear anything out of the ordinary.
At one point, Roethlisberger said, "Hey, show this girl where the bathroom is," and Barravecchio told investigators he opened the door to the back hall and the woman followed him down the hall, giggling, according to Georgia investigators. When Barravecchio pointed to the bathroom she sat on a stool next to the bathroom door where Barravecchio said he left her, according to the report. He said that he didn't see anyone else go back there.
Roethlisberger's accuser told investigators she was on the stool when the quarterback walked down the hallway, exposing himself, before he allegedly took her into the restroom and assaulted her.