A Georgia district attorney decided today not to file sex assault charges against Pittsburgh Steeler's quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Roethlisberger, dubbed "Big Ben" by Steelers fans, had been accused a sexual assault last month by a 20-year-old Georgia College & State University student who claimed the assault took place in a Milledgeville nightclub.
Roethlisberger had said there was consensual sexual contact, but no intercourse.
The decision not to prosecute was made by District Attorney Fred Bright.
"There will be no arrest made or criminal prosecution of Mr. Roethlisberger," Bright said.
The district attorney said one element of his decision not to prosecute came when he met with the student, who he repeatedly called "the victim," and her family and they made it clear they did not want to prosecute Roethlisberger.
The student's lawyer, David Walbert, wrote to Bright to say that his client did not want to prosecute because "a criminal trial would be a very intrusive personal experience."
"This decision does not reflect any recanting of our client's complaint, but simply a realistic, personal decision as to what is in her best interests," Walbert wrote.
Bright also said he would be unable to prove that there was a rape, meaning there was penetration, that it was forcible and that it was against her will.
"We are not condoning Mr. Roethlisberger's actions that night," Bright said. He added, however, "We do not prosecute morals. We prosecute crimes."
What the DA was clear on was his disapproval of Roethlisberger's actions. "If he were my son, I would say Ben grow up," Bright said.
During a news conference, Bright spelled out a confusing mix of stories that emerged immediately after the complaint was filed, and said alcohol played a significant role in the night's events.
He said a Roethlisberger bodyguard led the girl to a dingy bathroom at Milledgeville nightclub and Roethlisberger soon followed.
When she was first asked by a police officer if she had been raped, she answered, "No," Bright said, citing police reports. When asked if she and Roethlisberger had sex, she said, "I'm not sure," the district attorney said.
Bright said that when the student was interviewed later, when she was sober, she described a different scene.
"I told him it wasn't okay. We don't need to do this," Bright said she claimed she told Roethlisberger. The DA said she claimed to have tried to leave by exiting a door that actually led into a bathroom. The Steeler star allegedly followed her into the room.
"I still said no. This is not okay with me. He said it's okay. He had sex with me," Bright quoted the woman saying.
The police interview with Roethelisberger quoted him telling police that he tried to send the student away, saying, "I told her she was too drunk to be back here," Bright said.
The police officer who wrote the report concluded, "It is unclear as to what happened due to the …recollection due to her intoxication level."