Coraopolis investigating cop's role

Updated: April 26, 2010, 7:22 AM ET
By Willie Weinbaum | ESPN

One of Ben Roethlisberger's two bodyguards who was with him at a bar in Milledgeville, Ga., the night last month after which a 20-year-old college student accused Roethlisberger of sexual assault, is in danger of losing his job as a Coraopolis, Pa., police officer, a source close to the Coraopolis local government told ESPN on Sunday.

A majority vote of the Coraopolis City Council would be needed to dismiss Anthony Barravecchio, and according to the source, if a vote were taken today, it would be 8-0 for dismissing him from his position on the force. The source added that documents from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are to be reviewed by the council, but based on the information available to date, termination is the expected result of a vote that would be taken within the next few weeks.

"That is the complete opposite of the information I have," Barravecchio's attorney, Michael Santicola, told ESPN Sunday. Santicola, who has maintained that Barravecchio did nothing wrong, said he does not expect his client to be dismissed.

Santicola added that Barravecchio is a union member and that if he's terminated, he would file a grievance and win, as there are "no grounds for dismissal."

Coraopolis mayor John Haberland, who only has a vote on the council in the event of a tie, told ESPN he expects the matter to be resolved within three to four weeks and perhaps as early as in a week.

Haberland said the borough solicitor is expected to present present findings on the GBI investigation this week and then the council would review it and hold a vote.

Council president Robert Barone didn't agree that it would be an 8-0 vote to dismiss Barravecchio, if a vote were taken today, and said he has not polled fellow council members.

"We're going to do it the right way. We have to read the whole investigation and put it together like adults," he told ESPN.

Barravecchio, who has said he is a friend and assistant of Roethlisberger's -- not his employee -- is also assigned to a federal Drug Enforcement Administration task force at Pittsburgh International Airport.

Several women, according to the GBI investigation report, said they saw Barravecchio take the accuser to the back room of the bar where she allegedly encountered Roethlisberger.

"The information is suspect because of many problems, including that the descriptions of my client don't match," Santicola said. He called the accusations against Barravecchio "unsubstantiated and inconsistent."

Any action against Barravecchio, Santicola said, would be a "knee jerk reaction to the sensationalism of the case."

The other bodyguard who was with the Steelers quarterback that night, Pennsylvania State Police Officer Edward Joyner, has already been told by the state police to stop working for Roethlisberger.

Although he was not charged with a crime, Roethlisberger was suspended six games by the NFL for violating its personal conduct policy.

Willie Weinbaum is a producer for ESPN's Enterprise Unit.