Carl Prine of the PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW has new information on the aftermath of the March 5 sexual assault accusation against Ben Roethlisberger at a Georgia bar that was not pursued by the local district attorney as a criminal case.
(Milledgeville Police Patrolman Blash No Longer On Force)
Prine on the accuser in the incident, a 20-year-old college student:
The Tribune-Review doesn’t name the alleged victims of sexual abuse. Her friends, however, told the Trib on Monday that she has left school. Her attorney, Lee Parks, in a written statement said that she is seeking therapy because of the alleged incident.
Prine also had an interesting confrontation today with Roethlisberger associate and Pennsylvania State Trooper Ed Joyner, who was cited in the GBI investigative report by three different witnesses as having an alleged role in the incident between quarterback and the accuser.
GBI Agent (Tom) Davis confirmed that Pennsylvania State Police officials contacted agents involving the trooper’s role in the Milledgeville affair.
Reached at his Upper St Clair home before the report became public, Joyner screamed at a reporter, bellowing for him to “get off my property” before he reached the driveway. He refused to identify other members of the entourage from photos supplied to the Trib.
More on Joyner’s alleged role in Roethlisberger’s activities at the Georgia bar:
According to Garofalo, his entourage — which included off-duty Pennsylvania State Trooper Ed Joyner and Coraopolis Officer Tony Barravecchio — “even asked our age and were kind of surprised when I said 19 and the other girls, 20.” Throughout the evening, according to witness statements in the report, Roethlisberger ordered shots of tequila and called for young women to drink them.
One witness, student Nicole Biancofiore, told Milledgeville officers that patrolman Barravecchio “placed his hand” on the young accuser’s “shoulder and applying a little bit of pressure to guide her” to the staff restroom.
When Lubatti said that she tried to enter the VIP area to retrieve her highly intoxicated friend, Trooper Joyner “would not look her in the eye and stated he did not know what she was talking about.”
Johnson said that Joyner — who paid the bar tab — instructed him “to allow only females back to the area where Mr. Roethlisberger was seated.”
As for Joyner’s employer, he may not be completely out of the woods just yet.
“We have not seen the investigative report, but will have further dialogue with the Georgia authorities to properly evaluate the situation, should that be necessary,” said Pennsylvania State Police spokeswoman Lt. Myra Taylor. “We have no further comment at this time.”
Milledgeville Police Chief Woodrow Blue also told Prine today that the first responding officer the night in question, Jerry Blash, was no longer an employee of the police department.
Chief Woodrow Blue Jr. said Blash resigned Wednesday afternoon.
“He no longer is an employee here,” said the chief, who insists that Blash’s role in the matter didn’t compromise the investigation because the case was handed off quickly to detectives with the department and with GBI.
“His actions that night were consistent with our policies and procedures,” Blue said.
Though Prine reports:
“During the investigation, Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents learned that Milledgeville Patrolman Jerry Blash used salty language to describe the young woman, who was drunk. Reassigned from his night patrol duties, Blash, an 8-year veteran of the force, had his photo taken with Roethlisberger and several other officers earlier in the evening of March 4.”
Additionally, evidence at the potential crime scene where Blash was first to respond was destroyed:
Blue said the restroom where the woman said the assault took place was locked, but police didn’t mark it with tape to indicate it was a crime scene and a janitor who didn’t know about the incident mopped it with Clorox bleach and Pine-Sol, potentially destroying valuable evidence before GBI’s investigators could survey it.
“Naturally, we would have liked to have been in there and had a good look at the scene before that happened,” said GBI Special Agent in Charge Tom Davis. “It’s very unfortunate that any potential evidence might have been destroyed, but it’s also important to remember that usually the more important evidence is collected from the alleged victim, not from the scene around her.”
TMZ.com adds today on Blash:
In the report, investigators claim that on the night of the alleged incident, Blash admitted that after he encountered the accuser, he may have made a comment similar to “this f*cking bitch is drunk” or “this bitch is drunk off her ass accusing Ben of assaulting her.”
Investigators also report that on the night of the incident, Blash informed the accuser and her friends that “Roethlisberger has a lot of money” and if the women were to follow through with a police report, they “would be wasting their time.”
And of course we now know Blash took a photo of himself and Roethlisberger before the 20-year-old woman lodged her complaint against the quarterback.
If Blash’s conduct had no adverse effect on the efficacy of the investigation, why does it appear that his departure from the Milledgeville Police Dept. was not voluntary?