Ex-hotel director asks for dismissal

Updated: August 19, 2009, 3:52 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

RENO, Nev. -- A former Harrah's employee has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit that accuses Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger of raping another worker and alleges that managers of the Lake Tahoe hotel-casino covered up the assault.

Roethlisberger
Roethlisberger

Stacy Dingman, the former director of hotels at Harrah's, is one of nine defendants named in the lawsuit filed last month in Washoe County District Court. She said she is the former best friend of Andrea McNulty, who claims the two-time Super Bowl winner raped her during a celebrity golf tournament in July 2008.

McNulty, 31, said in her civil suit that when she reported the incident to Harrah's security, she was told she was overreacting and that she should not pursue a complaint, partly because Roethlisberger is friends with John Koster, president of Harrah's northern Nevada operations.

The lawsuit claims Dingman and Koster were among those who conspired to cover up the alleged incident. The 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.

Brad Johnson, a Reno lawyer representing Dingman, said in the motion filed Monday that there is no evidence or witnesses to support any of the allegations in the lawsuit. The Reno Gazette-Journal first reported the latest filing on its Web site Tuesday.

"Despite her apparent dissatisfaction with her co-workers' purported failure to act in response to her claims, [McNulty] tellingly failed to report the allegedly incident to police, failed to file any criminal charges against Roethlisberger, failed to file for worker's compensation benefits and even failed to inform her own family of the purported incident," the motion said.

"Now, in addition to pursuing her purported assailant a year after the claimed sexual assault occurred, [the plaintiff] has unjustifiably dragged Dingman, her former best friend, into this baseless lawsuit," it said.

In another development in the case, on Tuesday Roethlisberger's lawyer released an e-mail from McNulty less than 24 hours from the time the alleged assault is said to have occurred, in which she says she was preparing to go to dinner with the Steelers quarterback and a few others, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

That e-mail was among nearly two dozen e-mails and more than 150 instant messages that Roethlisberger's lawyer, William David Cornwell Sr., released Tuesday, according to the report. Cornwell said he had "a good-faith basis" to believe the e-mails are authentic.

"This golf tournament has been really fun," the woman said in an e-mail discussing the celebrity golf tournament Roethlisberger was attending, according to the report. "I am beat though because we are out until four in the morning by the time we are done.

"I am really excited because we are all going to see Journey tonight and that will be sooooo much fun. Speaking of which, I need to head over to a dinner with [Roethlisberger] and a few others before heading out. I will be back and working until at least 3am again," the e-mail said, according to the newspaper.

The tone and substance of the e-mails "prove she was not raped by Ben Roethlisberger," Cornwell said, according to the report.

Calvin Dunlap, the attorney for McNulty, told ESPN's Shelley Smith "no comment" on Wednesday in response to the release of the e-mails. Dunlap did not immediately return a call seeking comment on the motion to dismiss, The Associated Press reported.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

ALSO SEE