Roethlisberger’s attorney rejects settlement offer
CARSON CITY — The attorney for Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on Wednesday rejected a settlement offer by a Nevada woman who claims the Super Bowl champion sexually assaulted her at a Lake Tahoe hotel-casino.
The rejection was in response to a letter, filed last week as part of a motion from Cal Dunlap, the woman’s Reno attorney, that said she would be willing to settle the civil matter against Roethlisberger if he admits to raping her, apologizes and gives $100,000 to the Committee to Aid Abused Women, a non-profit agency in Reno that helps victims of domestic violence.
In a written statement, Roethlisberger attorney David Cornwell called the woman’s offer “bizarre” and an “insult to women who have legitimately suffered from sexual misconduct.”
Last month, they demanded she drop the lawsuit and write a letter of apology to the NFL star. In return, Roethlisberger would release both the woman and Dunlap from any legal liability stemming from the “conspiracy to extort and defame” him.
Those demands have been rejected by the woman, Dunlap said in his letter. It added that her settlement offer was made to negate claims by the quarterback’s attorneys that she filed her suit to get money from him.
Dunlap said the woman is a sexual assault victim who “was violated in every sense of the term.”
Dunlap refused further comment when contacted Wednesday.
Cornwell countered that the woman was given the option for a “graceful exit.”
“We will continue to press our defenses and claims and pursue our application for sanctions,” he said.
In other developments, the case in Washoe District Court has been reassigned to another judge, the third since the case was filed. District Judge Brent Adams will consider pending motions on whether the case should be moved to Douglas County. Depending on that ruling, he also would decide various other motions, including whether the case should proceed or be dismissed, attorneys said.
No hearings have been scheduled.
The woman, a VIP casino hostess, filed the civil suit against Roethlisberger in July, claiming the Super Bowl-winning quarterback raped her in 2008 in a hotel penthouse across the street from a golf course where he was playing in a celebrity tournament.
In other documents filed late Tuesday, Dunlap said the woman was stationed as a concierge on the 17th floor on July 11, 2008, when Roethlisberger returned to his room with a young woman. About 20 minutes later, he walked that woman to the elevator, then stopped by the concierge desk and chatted with staff, including his accuser.
A few minutes later, the documents said, Roethlisberger reportedly called the woman and asked her if she could fix his television. The woman said the television was working properly and that Roethlisberger then blocked her from leaving and assaulted her.
In the same filing, Dunlap also said the woman told her roommate and others of the encounter soon after the alleged attack and in the months that followed.
She did not report the incident to police, something advocates for rape victims say is not unusual.
Roethlisberger has denied the allegations.
Dunlap late Tuesday also countered suggestions by Roethlisberger’s lawyers that the woman is mentally ill.
“It is in fact their slanderous allegations and total trashing of every aspect of her life, relevant or not, that adds to her distress,” he wrote. “But, despite this horrible barrage of unwarranted defamation, this woman has held her head high, has gone into the den of the defendants and has continued to do her job without fail under the most egregious circumstances possible.
“This is something that a mentally ill person would certainly not be able to carry off.”
The civil suit also names eight Harrah’s officials as defendants, alleging they orchestrated a cover-up of the incident. The suit says she suffered depression, was hospitalized and forced to take leave from her job in the year after the incident.
In previous court documents, the attorney for hotel security chief Guy Hyder and other Harrah’s defendants said the woman kept him “informed with running e-mail commentary about her plan to have sex with Roethlisberger.”
“Hyder did not report it to management, since having consensual sex with a hotel patron, while on the job, would get her fired,” the motion said.
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