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Remorseful QB not charged in assault

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who won't face criminal charges after a 20-year-old college student accused him of sexually assaulting her inside a nightclub bathroom, said Monday that he knows he will have to work to regain the trust of teammates and fans.

Ocmulgee Circuit District Attorney Fred Bright said Monday that after exhaustive interviews and inconclusive medical exams, the student's accusations could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Bright also revealed the accuser no longer wanted him to prosecute.

Bright said he continued to investigate but decided against moving forward partly because he was not able to find out what happened in the bathroom.

"Here, the overall circumstances do not lead to a viable prosecution. If they did, I would be pursuing it vigorously," Bright said. "We do not prosecute morals. We prosecute crimes."

Roethlisberger, in his first public remarks since the accusations March 5, read a statement: "The prosecutor's decision not to bring charges, I know without a doubt, is the right conclusion," he said. " … I understand that the opportunities I have been blessed with are a privilege, and much is expected of me as the quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I absolutely want to be the leader this team deserves, valued in the community and a role model to kids. I have much work to do to earn this trust."

Roethlisberger did not discuss his upcoming meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell or any punishment that might come from the league or team for violating the players' conduct code.

Roethlisberger, who was drinking with friends on his 28th birthday, met the student and her sorority sisters throughout a night of bar-hopping. They met again at Capital City, where he invited them to a VIP section and bought shots.

The student later walked down a hallway to a small bathroom, and Roethlisberger followed. What happened next remains unclear.

The student told police she had been sexually assaulted, but medical results were less clear. An emergency room doctor found a cut, bruises and vaginal bleeding but could not say if she was raped. Some DNA was found, but there was not enough to determine whom it belonged to, Bright said.

He said investigators spent weeks questioning witnesses even though the woman sent a letter urging prosecutors not to move forward with charges.

Roethlisberger is being sued by a different woman who says he raped her in 2008 at a Lake Tahoe hotel, which he denies. Roethlisberger was not criminally charged in that case.

New Jets WR Holmes banned for four games

NEW YORK — Santonio Holmes, the Jets' newly acquired receiver, was suspended without pay by the NFL for the first four regular-season games for violating the substance-abuse policy.

The league announced the suspension a day after the talented but troubled Holmes was traded from the Steelers for a fifth-round pick in the draft.

"We understood that was part of it, but we just felt like even with that, it was worth it," Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum said of the four-game ban.

Holmes, a Super Bowl MVP coming off a season with 79 catches for 1,248 yards, faces a lawsuit from a woman who claims he threw a glass at her, cutting her above the eye, in an Orlando nightclub. He also was arrested in 2008 for possession of marijuana and involved in a domestic violence case in 2006.

Rams: Missouri billionaire Stan Kroenke decided on deadline to exercise his matching rights to try to buy the remaining 60 percent share of the team. Illinois businessman Shahid Khan had reached agreement with owners Chip Rosenbloom and sister Lucia Rodriguez in February to buy the team, but Kroenke had 60 days to decide whether to keep his 40 percent share, sell it or buy the team outright. But complicating the issue for Kroenke is his ownership of the NBA's Nuggets and the NHL's Avalanche. NFL rules prohibit cross-ownership.

Redskins: Quarterback Jason Campbell signed his $3.1 million tender, taking him off the market as a restricted free agent while leaving open the possibility of a trade. Campbell got permission to explore a trade after Donovan McNabb was acquired from Philadelphia.

Titans: Free agent quarterback Chris Simms, 29, who played for the Bucs from 2003 to 2007, reached agreement on a one-year contract.

Ex-player charged: Former linebacker Lee Woodall, who played for the 49ers, Panthers and Broncos, is accused of using a $400,000 minority business loan from a Pennsylvania state agency to finance trips, cars and jewelry. He is being charged with theft.

Remorseful QB not charged in assault 04/12/10 [Last modified: Monday, April 12, 2010 10:37pm]
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