Ben Roethlisberger Goes After His Accusers

What Women Really Think
March 17 2010 4:45 PM

Ben Roethlisberger Goes After His Accusers

I'm catching up on the sexual assault accusations against Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (a 20-year-old college student says he went after her in the bathroom of a Georgia nightclub; he denies it .) Did you see the photos TMZ posted of Roethlisberger with a group of cops, apparently, his arms draped around two of them, an hour before the alleged assault took place? This is a guy who knows how to make friends with law enforcement (the cops in the photo aren't investigating these allegations, the department hastened to reassure us). As tellingly, Roethlisberger also knows how to go after his accuser. To deal with the Georgia case, he hired a private investigator known for cleaning up celebrity messes - as TMZ says, " a sign that the alleged victim is fair game." Roethlisberger has also sued another woman who says he raped her in a Lake Tahoe hotel room in 2008.

We don't know yet whether either of these women's accusations will hold up in court. It looks like a classic he said/she said, though in the Georgia case the police are also checking security tapes. False allegations of rape do happen in a small fraction of cases , and of course the Duke lacrosse debacle looms larger than the stats. But the accusations against Roethlisberger are starting to follow a pattern. And so is his aggressive and ruthless response.

Emily Bazelon is a staff writer at the New York Times Magazine and the author of Sticks and Stones

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