Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Civil Court and the Football Hero

by Annette Dashofy

I was all set to share some pictures of our local Sisters in Crime picnic. Then, yesterday, the news broke about the civil suit being brought against Ben Roethlisberger. In case you aren’t from Pittsburgh and/or are not a football fan, you can catch up on the whole sordid tale here.

The story raises a number of questions in my mind. Why didn’t she file a complaint with the police a year ago when the alleged rape happened? According to reports, the hotel management told her to keep it quiet if she wanted to keep her job.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve quit jobs for way less than that.

Why file the complaint now in civil court instead of criminal? The easy answer there is money. Apparently it’s also easier to win a civil case compared to a criminal case.

Especially a year later. When no police report was filed and no evidence collected.

I confess to some bias here. I’m a rabid Pittsburgh Steelers fan. Big Ben led us to two Superbowl wins. Does that make me want him to be innocent of the charges? Okay. Yeah. I’m not claiming to be clearheaded on this one. Ordinarily, I tend to support the woman claiming rape because, let’s face it, why would anyone put themselves through the humiliation that comes with a public trial in which the victim’s personal life is put under a microscope?

Not this time. At least not yet. It’s the whole civil vs. criminal case thing. If she were going after him in criminal court, I’d think she was seeking justice. As is, it seems to me she’s going for the cash. And anyone famous and/or rich makes an easy target.

Regardless of Big Ben’s innocence (or lack thereof), this woman is likely to come into some big bucks. At the very least there will be an offer of settlement to make her go away.

I know I’m setting myself up for ridicule by siding with the football hero. I’ve already admitted to my favoritism. I’m also willing to entertain other points of view. What do you think? What’s your take on this BIG STAR vs. little hotel employee case?


Joyce Tremel said...

I'm with you Annette and I'm not a Steelers fan. I don't even like football. Give me hockey any day.

The fact that it's a whole year later, plus the fact that she's suing him in civil court instead of having criminal charges filed, screams MONEY to me.

Ben R. might be dumb enough to ride his motorcycle without a helmet, but to assault someone? I don't think so.

Annette said...

Thanks, Joyce. I'm glad to know it's not just me, as I'm not at all impartial on this one.

Anonymous said...

The thing that really disturbs me is that the complaint itself is not only detailed, but ugly.

If I were advising Ben or the other defendants - employees of Harrah's who allegedly covered up the incident, I'd write a check and make this go away. Now.

Yes, I know justice will not be served in that we will never know the truth, but that would be my advice.

Also - advise to Ben - wearing a helmet is not just for motorcycles, if you know what I mean.

Kathy Sweeney

Wilfred Bereswill said...

If there was a shred of truth to the TV series Las Vegas, Casino hosts and hostesses are hired to entertain and tend to people with money. It's also very likely that casino hostesses are hired for their looks, charm and outgoing personalities. I can also imagine that they become very streetsmart when it comes to fullfilling the requests of the guests.

I can see that they may find themselves in compromising positions. It also seems that considering the nature of casinos, the wealthy want some guarantee of anonymity.

Put that all together with some alcohol and you could have an interesting novel.

Because I deal with the law (albeit environmental law), I tend to waive my judgement until all the facts are revealed. Based on the information in the article, is there the smell of fish in the air??? Yes. But we haven't heard all the facts.

Jenna said...

It's suspicious, certainly. Could be seen two ways, though: 1) she's going the civil court route to get money, or 2) like you mention, Annette, it's easier to win in civil court, and if it really happened, but she didn't report it at the time, she might feel more confident about winning there.

I have no idea either way. Hadn't heard about it till now. Here in Tennessee, we're still reeling from the Steve McNair murder on the 4th.

Annette said...

Interesting, Kathy. I've not seen the actual complaint.

And, yes, I think we know what you mean. ;-)

Annette said...

Oh, Jennie, yes, the Steve McNair case is another one. Horrible. I feel awful for his wife.

Will, I agree that we don't have all the facts. But I also suspect we never will.

Gina said...

Annette -
I'm reserving judgment on this one until we have more facts. It's not unusual for rape victims to not report immediately (especially if they are in fear of losing something, like a job), nor for men to misread reluctance for interest [maybe Ben watches that Las Vegas tv show too]. Let's hope the truth will out.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry if this sounds argumentative, but "hero" and "football" (or any other sport) don't really belong together, IMO.

I agree that there are many reasons why a woman will not report an assault--loss of her job and being disbelieved and/or blamed are just two. Sometimes it takes a very long time for the impact of a traumatic event to hit. It may have taken a year for her to work up the emotional strength to act, and she may want to hit him where it hurts.

Or it could be a scam. No one knows yet. Innocent until proven guilty, yes, but most things like this don't just appear out of the blue.