Attorney: Off-duty Pa. officers were with Roethlisberger at Ga. club where assault was alleged

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Attorney: Pa. officers with Roethlisberger at club

PITTSBURGH — Two off-duty Pennsylvania law enforcement officers were with Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger at the Georgia nightclub where a woman accused him of sexual assault, and the two men didn’t see anything inappropriate, an attorney for one of them said Wednesday.

Anthony Barravecchio, an officer on the force in the Pittsburgh suburb of Coraopolis, and Pennsylvania Trooper Ed Joyner were among about eight people with Roethlisberger celebrating his birthday at the club, attorney Michael Santicola said. Santicola said the men were there because they are friends of the two-time Super Bowl winner.

“They were not there in their official capacity,” said Santicola, who represents Barravecchio but said Joyner is also a longtime friend.

Police are investigating the 20-year-old college student’s claim that Roethlisberger sexually assaulted her early last Friday at the club in Milledgeville, Ga. Roethlisberger has not been charged, and his attorney disputes the woman’s claim.

Santicola, who’s based in western Pennsylvania, said both of the law enforcement officers who were with Roethlisberger are cooperating fully with the investigation, but say they saw nothing inappropriate.

“They saw nothing inappropriate, no criminal activity and no inappropriate contact or behavior,” Santicola said, adding that Barravecchio was “completely sober” during the evening.

Santicola also said the two do not remember meeting the woman who has accused Roethlisberger of assault.

“If they did meet the woman, they have no memory of it,” Santicola said. “This was a crowded bar with people everywhere.”

Ed Garland, an attorney for Roethlisberger, has said the quarterback is innocent of any crime and that no sexual assault occurred.

Two Atlanta-based attorneys for the woman who accused Roethlisberger have said that she did the right thing and asked for her family’s privacy.

Milledgeville police have said they expect to interview Roethlisberger this week and are planning to take a DNA sample from him.

Roethlisberger, who owns a home about 30 miles north of Milledgeville on Lake Oconee, is also being sued by a woman who claims he raped her in 2008 at a hotel-casino in Lake Tahoe hotel and casino, an allegation he strongly denies.

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