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Published: Wednesday, 4/21/2010

Pennsylvania State Police: Trooper can't work for Roethlisberger; identified as bodyguard in Georgia

ASSOCIATED PRESS

PITTSBURGH — A state trooper who was present when Ben Roethlisberger was accused of sexual assault at a Georgia nightclub cannot continue working as the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback's personal assistant, Pennsylvania State Police said Wednesday.

Trooper Ed Joyner's work for Roethlisberger exceeded the scope of what was permitted, spokeswoman Lt. Myra Taylor said. The trooper also "is alleged to have demeaned the image" of the state police, she said.

The state police issued its decision after reviewing a preliminary report by Georgia authorities who investigated the allegations against Roethlisberger. The quarterback was not criminally charged, but on Wednesday, the NFL announced he would be suspended for six games.

Joyner got permission from the state police in 2005 to work as Roethlisberger's assistant. State police regulations require troopers to get permission for any outside work for which they'll receive compensation or "consideration."

Joyner did not immediately return a call seeking comment at his barracks in Washington, Pa., where he remains on duty.

Taylor said last week that an internal investigation must still determine whether Joyner should be disciplined for doing anything "that could reasonably be expected to destroy public respect for the Pennsylvania State Police or confidence in the state police."

A friend of Roethlisberger's accuser told Georgia authorities that a "bodyguard" refused to acknowledge that the woman was alone with Roethlisberger on March 5 in the back of a nightclub in Milledgeville, Ga.

Ann Marie Lubatti told police that she told the bodyguard, "This isn't right. My friend is back there with Ben. She needs to come back right now."

Lubatti said the man — whom Georgia investigators later identified as Joyner — wouldn't look her in the eye and said he didn't know what she was talking about.

Taylor said Wednesday she can't "get into the particulars" of what prompted the state police to rescind Joyner's permission to work for Roethlisberger, except to say it was the result of state police brass "reviewing the initial report provided to us by Georgia authorities."

"If what you initially read is troubling, you have an obligation to take action even after that preliminary review," Taylor said.

There is no timeline for determining whether Joyner violated policies that could result in discipline ranging from "a reprimand or counseling, with the most severe being termination, or loss of job," Taylor said.

Taylor doesn't know whether Joyner could face discipline simply for violating the terms of his "supplemental employment" agreement, but said he's free to comment on it because it involves his off-duty conduct.

According to records Taylor provided, Joyner got permission to work as Roethlisberger's "driver/assistant" in April 2005.

Joyner listed his duties as "chauffeur to NFL home games, autograph sessions, charity events, and airport. Collecting fan mail and other fan paraphernalia during autograph sessions. Also fielding phone calls."

Joyner's application said that he expected to do the work on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays only, and that he would likely spend five to 10 hours a week working for Roethlisberger.

State police officials listed three reasons for rescinding his off-duty work approval: "Violation of the stipulations of your supplemental employment approval, exceeding the scope of the approval, and demeaning the image of the Department."

The three stipulations to Joyner's employment permission were that the supplemental work must not be a conflict of interest with his duties as a trooper; must not interfere with his ability to work as a trooper; and "must not demean the image of the Pennsylvania State Police."

Roethlisberger's attorney, David Cornwell, referred questions about Joyner's employment with Roethlisberger to sports agent Ryan Tollner. Tollner did not immediately return an e-mailed request for comment Wednesday.



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