Nevada law enforcement officials won't file charges against Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in connection with a 31-year-old Nevada woman who alleges she was raped by the player at a Lake Tahoe resort-casino during a golf tournament last July, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.
The woman, who was working as an executive VIP casino host at Harrah's Lake Tahoe at the time of the alleged crime, has to date only filed a civil lawsuit, according to the Associated Press. Douglas County Sheriff's Deputy Teresa Duffy said the police will launch a criminal investigation only if the woman files a criminal complaint.
"The victim is the only one who can do that," Duffy told the Associated Press. "Unless there was a third party that actually witnessed the incident, which according to the civil case, was not the case here."
The woman, a Canadian native, alleges the two-time Super Bowl champion raped her in a penthouse across the street from the golf course. Roethlisberger's lawyer has denied the charges.
The woman sought legal counsel in March after Harrah's officials told her Roethlisberger was invited to play in the 2009 celebrity golf tournament and ordered her to take a paid two-week leave during the event, the lawsuit said, "to accommodate her assailant." The tournament took place last week.
Cal Dunlap, the Reno lawyer who filed her lawsuit in Washoe County District Court on Friday, said neither he nor the woman will comment.
The lawsuit seeks a minimum of $440,000 in damages from the quarterback, at least $50,000 in damages from eight Harrah's officials and an unspecified amount of punitive damages "sufficient to deter" Roethlisberger and the others "from engaging in such conduct in the future."
She also accuses Harrah's officials, including the casino's chief of security, of orchestrating a cover-up of the incident she says she reported to him the next day.
The lawsuit alleges Harrah's officials worked to silence her and undermine her credibility rather than investigate her claims.She said the security chief, Guy Hyder, told her she was "over reacting," that "most girls would feel lucky to get to have sex with someone like Ben Roethlisberger" and that "Koster would love you even more if he knew about this
Roethlisberger, one of the NFL's biggest stars, catapulted to fame when he led the Steelers to a victory in Super Bowl XL at the age of 23. After basketball superstar Kobe Bryant and boxer Mike Tyson, Roethlisberger is arguably the most famous professional athlete to be accused of rape.
All criminal charges against Bryant were dropped in 2004, though he and his accuser settled a civil lawsuit for undisclosed terms. Tyson was convicted of rape in 1992 and served three years of a six-year sentence.
The Associated Press contributed reporting to this story.