Today Ocmulgee (Ga.) Judicial Circuit District Attorney Fred Bright said that on March 17, the accuser in the Ben Roethlisberger sexual assault investigation confirmed in a letter to authorities that she didn’t want to press criminal charges against Roethlisberger.
Knowing that, news of the case right around that date clearly points to the accuser backing off her claim.
On March 24, KDKA-TV reported:
Sources close to the investigation say that investigators have had trouble re-interviewing the woman since the night of the incident. Sources say the 20-year-old co-ed did not show up for a scheduled interview a week ago yesterday and that as of Friday she still had not come in to be questioned.
“A week ago yesterday” would’ve been March 16, the day before the accuser sent a letter to authorities informing them that she did not want to press charges.
On March 17, I noted this from WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh:
His accuser may return to Georgia College & State University as early as this week, according to the woman’s lawyer. She took a leave of absence and went home to her parents in Atlanta after media descended on the tiny college town where she claims to have been assaulted.
The 20-year-old woman made a surprise appearance over the weekend at a sorority retreat in the mountains of northern Georgia. Her sisters said she was acting very normal and just wanted to get away for the weekend and didn’t want to talk about the allegations.
As soon as that news came down, Roethlisberger wasn’t going to be charged, as a case that was already flimsy would be impossible to prosecute without the cooperation of the accuser.
But the accuser’s decision to rescind her claim against the quarterback may have come well before March 17. WTAE reported that she’d re-joined her sorority’s activities the previous weekend, March 13-14, with subsequent plans to return to school.
Now the timing of that news makes sense and may point to when settlement negotiations began. Perhaps even earlier than March 13. (If there was a settlement.)
On March 17, I also noted:
Though at the moment, this is the only non-contradictory public information we have that could be material to the case:
1) The woman was examined at a hospital after the alleged attack.
2) Roethlisberger has admitted to sexual contact with the alleged victim, without intercourse, and said that during the incident the woman “fell on her head.”
Without the accuser disputing the “consensual” claim of Roethlisberger herself, D.A. Bright literally had no case.
Also consider that the accuser immediately hired a lawyer specializing in personal injury claims, not criminal defense. That was a tipoff from the start that the accuser may have been desirous of a settlement.
In other words, those of us who have been covering this case the past month would’ve been better off at the driving range.