Could face lawsuit over Roethlisberger
Capital City, the nightclub that was the site of a sexual assault allegedly carried out by Ben Roethlisberger, has hired a lawyer to handle requests and prepare for the possibility of being sued over the incident.
So far the club's manager, Rocky Duncan, has been formally interviewed by authorities in Milledgeville, Ga., and Carl Cansino, a criminal defense lawyer there, said the club will cooperate with requests by police to speak with other employees.
"He was managing the bar. He accommodated the parties by making the VIP room available, and he did not witness any of the offenses that have been alleged," Mr. Cansino said Thursday.
Police are investigating allegations that the Steelers quarterback sexually assaulted a 20-year-old woman at the night club, near the college campus, last Friday. Police have not filed any charges.
Investigators have obtained video from the club, but none of the cameras was trained on the VIP room where Mr. Roethlisberger was socializing with friends, Mr. Cansino said.
Cameras were instead trained on the front entrance and the main bar area.
Agents with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which is assisting Milledgeville police, were supposed to photograph the interior of the club Thursday in order to make a sketch of the premises, Mr. Cansino said.
Tom Davis, special agent in charge of the bureau's Milledgeville office, has not returned requests for comment.
Milledgeville police Deputy Chief Richard Malone, who conducted the first news conference on the situation last week, deferred to his boss, Chief Woodrow W. Blue Jr., who was not available.
A focus of the investigation has been a rest room near the VIP lounge where evidence has been collected. The rest room is for use by VIP patrons and musicians playing live gigs. Mr. Cansino described the space as a small, plain unisex bathroom.
"It's just a toilet," Mr. Cansino said. "It's not fancy."
Mr. Roethlisberger, who turned 28 on March 2, spent the night of March 4 visiting several bars, restaurants and clubs in downtown Milledgeville.
He was accompanied by Steelers tackle Willie Colon, off-duty Coraopolis police Officer Anthony J. Barravecchio, off-duty Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Ed Joyner and several other men who have not been identified.
Before the group got to Capital City, a Milledgeville police officer was already in contact with the club to let management there know that Mr. Roethlisberger was on his way, Mr. Cansino said. He did not know the name of the officer or how the officer came into contact with the quarterback.
Mr. Cansino said Mr. Duncan, the club's manager, told the police officer that the club had a VIP room that would be available to Mr. Roethlisberger.
Police have said that the alleged victim approached a Milledgeville police officer between 2 and 2:30 a.m. last Friday, and members of her party identified Mr. Roethlisberger as her assailant.
Police came into Capital City around that time seeking the quarterback and his friends. Bar closing time in Georgia is 2 a.m., and the club staff were cleaning up.
"According to our employee at the time, all the patrons were leaving, that's when Milledgeville police made contact with our employee," Mr. Cansino said. "They pointed the direction to where they were, and the police made contact."
Mr. Cansino did not know how long the officer spent speaking with Mr. Roethlisberger and his party, but he said it was more than a brief chat.
Mr. Colon's agent, Joe Linta, said police did not interview his client that night and have not tried to reach him since then. Mr. Linta said Mr. Colon was on the club's dance floor and did not see police interact with Mr. Roethlisberger.
Officer Barravecchio's lawyer, Michael F. Santicola, said police did not speak to his client.
Coraopolis police Chief Alan DeRusso said he learned of the incident Sunday from television and did not speak about with Officer Barravecchio, a 10-year department veteran, until the next day.
"He wasn't involved with anything, and he didn't see anything," Chief DeRusso said. "He didn't get into anything. That's basically it. He just wanted me to be assured that he wasn't involved in anything."
The chief did not press Officer Barravecchio for more information or ask him to submit any paperwork, especially considering he was on vacation because of his longtime friendship with Mr. Roethlisberger.
State police spokeswoman Lt. Myra Taylor said she did not know if Trooper Joyner had submitted any documentation about the incident to his superiors.
Trooper Joyner, who works in the Washington barracks, applied in 2005 to be a driver and assistant to Mr. Roethlisberger. Mr. Santicola described the trooper, who is a friend of his, as a friend of the quarterback.
Lt. Taylor said she is not aware of any internal review of Trooper Joyner's ability to continue working for Mr. Roethlisberger.
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