GBI releases more than 50 recordings
MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. -- A Georgia college student said she felt powerless to stop a short-tempered Ben Roethlisberger from having sex with her in a bar bathroom even though she told him to stop, telling investigators: "I'm a little girl and he's a big boy."
Her interviews with police were among more than 50 audio and video clips released Wednesday from the investigation into Roethlisberger's late-night carousing in a Georgia college town, a sordid incident that didn't result in criminal charges but reinforced his reputation for petulant behavior.
The new videos include the first extensive comments by the woman that have been made public, though written statements she gave investigators have been released. She has declined interview requests. Authorities haven't released her name.
The DVDs offered the first extensive account by the accuser, who hasn't spoken publicly, as well as less than a minute of shaky Roethlisberger footage from the club. With loud music blaring, the Pittsburgh Steelers star asks a girl what her drink tastes like, doles out high-fives, strikes a pose, punches his fist in the air twice and flashes a huge grin for the camera.
Before the night was done, he was accused of sexually assaulting a 20-year-old woman, who said she didn't try to fight him off because he appeared to anger easily.
"I noticed throughout the night he kind of had like a short temper, like he would get really, like, defensive," she told investigators, but didn't elaborate on what made her think the quarterback had a short temper.
The local prosecutor determined there wasn't enough evidence to warrant criminal charges after the investigation concluded, and he said the woman ultimately asked him not to prosecute the quarterback.
The accuser was interviewed twice by police -- the first time shortly after she made the accusation early March 5, and a second time about 12 hours later at the police station.
The woman sounded intoxicated when she spoke with Milledgeville officer Jason Lopez in the first interview. Her words were slurred and she even says at one point, "Obviously, I'm drunk." An audio recording of that interview was made.
During the first interview, she said she repeatedly told Roethlisberger, "I really don't think this is OK," but couldn't stop him from having sex with her in the bathroom of a bar.
"I don't know what I can ... do," she said. "I'm a little girl and he's a big boy."
The victim told police she is 5-foot-4 and weighs 145 pounds. Roethlisberger is listed at 6-5 and 241 pounds.
Lopez asked the woman if she knew of any reason why Roethlisberger would feel "it was OK to do this to you."
While the accuser acknowledged wearing an explicit name tag, which was left over from a friend's birthday party earlier in the night, she denied leading him on.
"I wasn't forward in any way," she said. "I wasn't like, 'Oh my gosh, have sex with me because you're an NFL superstar.' I really don't know why [it happened]."
The next afternoon, the woman went to the police station for a follow-up interview that was videotaped. She was calm and matter-of-fact when discussing the previous night, struggling to remember a few details but adamant that she had been assaulted by Roethlisberger. She said he first exposed himself to her in a hallway, then followed her into the bathroom.
In the video, the woman's face was blurred. She told police she didn't think trying to fight Roethlisberger would stop the assault.
"I figured it wouldn't help anything," she said. "I didn't want, obviously, him to hurt me any more than he was going to."
The videos are the most extensive account yet by the accuser, though written statements she gave investigators have been released. She has not returned calls seeking comment. The Associated Press generally doesn't name those who say they were sexually assaulted.
Nicole Biancofiore, a friend of the accuser, also said she saw Roethlisberger flash his temper when another friend hesitated to accept drinks from him.
"She said, 'I don't think we should.' I turned back around and he got really angry. He said, 'Forget it. You're done. That's it,'" Biancofiore told investigators.
In Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger took part in a Steelers practice session but didn't talk with the media. He was escorted off the field by a team spokesman.
Later in an interview with WTAE-TV at his home, he apologized to the fans.
"I strive every day and I bust my butt to be the best quarterback in the NFL for these fans and the Steelers, but I'm going to strive even harder to be the best off the field -- to be the best role model and community leader and whatever I can be off the field," Roethlisberger said, according to excerpts posted on the station's website.
"I owe that to the fans because I have made a lot of mistakes," Roethlisberger said, according to the station. "From the bottom of my heart, I'm so sorry to them if I've ever wronged even one fan. I am so sorry. I'm going to do everything in my power not to let it happen again."
The quarterback was suspended for the first six games of the upcoming season, though commissioner Roger Goodell said he could reduce it to four games if Roethlisberger shows he is committed to improving his off-the-field behavior.
Goodell has said the 28-year-old failed to meet the league's expectations for player behavior with his late-night antics.
One of the new videos shows the quarterback partying at the club where the accusation was made. The shaky 49-second video, shot by a member of his entourage, shows the quarterback wearing a black Nike baseball cap and black T-shirt with a devil's face on it. Most of what Roethlisberger is saying is drowned out by loud music in the club.
Roethlisberger also is being sued in Nevada by a woman who says he sexually assaulted her there in 2008. There were no charges brought in that case.
His attorney has denied Roethlisberger did anything wrong in Georgia, where he owns a lake house near Milledgeville.
Ed Joyner, a Pennsylvania state trooper who's a friend of Roethlisberger and sometimes works as his personal assistant, said people were mobbing the quarterback all night.
"If he starts talking, I mean, he's like a magnet. They come and they come hard," Joyner told police. "These girls, I mean, they were all just one right after another. And then there was guys too. I mean the guys were pretty heavy too."
At Steelers practice, several teammates said they didn't even know the DVDs were being released.
"It's not even something that's being discussed," backup quarterback Charlie Batch said. "It has nothing to do with football."
Offensive lineman Willie Colon -- the only teammate with Roethlisberger at the Georgia nightclub -- said he hasn't had a chance to speak with Roethlisberger about the case since the tapes were made public.
"I had no idea that it was going to be released to the public," Colon said. "All I can do is just deal with whatever comes along with it. I just want to let everybody know I have a family and I'm a good man and I spoke freely in my interview [with Georgia investigators]."
Colon's hourlong interview with a GBI agent was one of the videos released Wednesday. He shed little light on the case, saying he didn't even know anything had occurred until he saw police at the club. He wasn't with Roethlisberger afterward, leaving in a separate car, though he was concerned about what impact the accusations would have.
"I'm a player, too," Colon told the agent in his interview. "I can't get in trouble. We've got to be more cautious about putting [ourselves] in situations where people can harm us."
Roethlisberger spoke to reporters briefly last week after a Steelers voluntary practice. He said he's ready to make major changes to a lifestyle that cast him as an example of behavior by privileged pro athletes with a sense of entitlement.
"I've put a lot of thought into my life, the decisions that I've made in the past," Roethlisberger said last week. "I've been sitting at home thinking about things, and I've been working closely with the commissioner on ways to make changes, corrections.
"I'm looking forward to the second chance and the second opportunity -- not just in football, because I think everybody knows what you're going to get [from me] in football, but in life. I think that's kind of what's more important."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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