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Published: 3/7/2010

Georgia police mum on Roethlisberger

FROM THE BLADE'S NEWS SERVICES
Katie Keller erases a sign promoting a 'Roethlis-Burger' lunch special at Buffington's, a bar the quarterback reportedly went to in Milledgeville, Ga. Katie Keller erases a sign promoting a 'Roethlis-Burger' lunch special at Buffington's, a bar the quarterback reportedly went to in Milledgeville, Ga.
JOHN AMIS / AP Enlarge

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. - Authorities yesterday continued their investigation of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who is accused of sexual misconduct in an alleged assault at a nightclub in a Georgia college town.

Police in Milledgeville were examining the claim of a 20-year-old student, who told an officer that Roethlisberger sexually assaulted her early Friday.

The police department had no plans to comment until at least tomorrow.

The case has developed as Roethlisberger faces a lawsuit filed in July by a woman who says he raped her in 2008 at a Lake Tahoe hotel and casino, an allegation he denies.

Roethlisberger, who is not in custody, has not been criminally charged in either case and has claimed counter-damages in the lawsuit.

Roethlisberger was raised in Findlay and attended Miami University.

Milledgeville is about 85 miles southeast of Atlanta.

Roethlisberger, who turned 28 Tuesday, and two or three friends went to Buffington's bar Thursday night to watch the University of Pittsburgh men's college basketball game, said Paul Kurcikevicus, a 24-year-old college student.

The group later went to The Brick restaurant nearby, owner Frank Pendergrast said.

Roethlisberger was later seen at Capital City, a popular nightclub for students at Georgia College & State University.

Amber Hanley, a 21-year-old college student, said she and a few friends were in the VIP area of the club with Roethlisberger.

She said she asked the quarterback to take a photo with her friend, whose boyfriend was a fan, but he seemed disappointed that's all she wanted.

Ms. Hanley said she rolled her eyes and Roethlisberger called her an expletive and walked away.

Later, Roethlisberger was aggressively hitting on another girl, Ms. Hanley said.

Deputy Police Chief Richard Malone said Roethlisberger had been with three other people who were mingling with another group that included the alleged victim.

Chief Malone said the woman and her party contacted a nearby police officer after the alleged assault. The nature of the assault was not described, but Chief Malone did say it was being termed a sexual assault.

Roethlisberger and the alleged victim were interviewed and the woman was taken to a hospital, where she was treated, Chief Malone said.

Roethlisberger's agent, Ryan Tollner, said he was skeptical of the motive of the alleged victim in Milledgeville because of the previous Lake Tahoe allegations.

But several students who said they know the accuser said she is a good person. Several said that Facebook sites and texting have lit up with news of the allegation. They said she has taken down her Facebook page.

"She's a fun, outgoing, sweet person," said college student Beckett Johnson, 21.

According to various media outlets, Roethlisberger has a winter home in the area.



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