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Pa. Trooper’s Role in Helping Roethlisberger Is Investigated; He Was Big Ben’s Paid Go-Fer

We said weeks ago that a bunch of cops were compromised in this investigation. The mainstream media’s just finding this out? Duh.

from – The Pennsylvania state police are investigating whether one of their officers violated regulations on off-duty work last month when Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was accused of sexually assaulting a 20-year-old woman at a rural Georgia nightspot.

The state trooper, Edward Joyner — one of two police officers from Pennsylvania with Roethlisberger that night — obtained permission from supervisors five years ago to serve as a personal assistant, the department spokeswoman Lt. Myra Taylor said.

Activities listed in Joyner’s request for “supplementary employment,” as the department defines it, included answering Roethlisberger’s fan mail and telephone calls, and driving him to charity events “and the like,” Taylor said Friday.

The request did not include work as a bodyguard, as Joyner was described in the police reports out of Milledgeville, Ga., after the March 4 incident at Capital City, a restaurant and nightclub.

Asked Friday if Joyner was serving as a bodyguard, Taylor said, “We don’t know that.” She added that the department would also look into whether Joyner breached its code of conduct that evening.

Prosecutors announced on Monday that no charges would be filed against Roethlisberger, although the Ocmulgee Judicial Court district attorney, Fredric D. Bright, took the unusual step of castigating him.

“We are not condoning Mr. Roethlisberger’s actions that night,” Bright said. “But we do not prosecute morals. We prosecute crimes.”

Roethlisberger, who also faces a civil suit in Nevada over a separate allegation of rape, has maintained his innocence in both cases.

According to witnesses in the Capital City case, an acquaintance of the accuser told investigators that Roethlisberger followed her friend into a bathroom as her friend was trying to get away from him. The acquaintance said she asked a member of Roethlisberger’s party, identified as Joyner, for help in getting her friend out. Joyner responded that he didn’t know what she was talking about, her statement said.

Witnesses told the investigation bureau that the other bodyguard — identified in reports as Anthony Barravecchio, a police officer in the Pittsburgh suburb of Coraopolis — led the woman into a hallway at the nightclub and placed her on a stool. One witness described her as being dragged in a drunken state by Barravecchio to a back room.

The accuser told the police that Roethlisberger sexually assaulted her in the restroom.

Barravecchio’s lawyer said Friday that his client had accompanied Roethlisberger to Georgia as a friend and was not working for him. “He was on vacation,” Michael Santicola of Beaver, Pa., said. “Mr. Barravecchio was not there in any official capacity.”

Santicola termed the accusations against Barravecchio “false, inaccurate and generated by an individual that the district attorney himself believed could not be used” in court. “They are noncredible stories.”

The Caraopolis police chief, Alan DeRusso, did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

Policies on off-duty work vary with each police jurisdiction. Most draw the line at providing security at strip clubs or for celebrities with an arrest record or an unsavory reputation.

Off-duty officers involved in security generally carry their badge even though police departments do not require them to do so, according to Terry deGelder, director of operations with Off-Duty Officers Inc. in San Diego, which provides clients nationwide with security services.

If off-duty officers acting as bodyguards witness a felony, he said, they must take action or alert an on-duty colleague. But they are discouraged from wielding their badges in matters involving their client.

DeGelder said he offers the following advice to officers employed by him as bodyguards:

“When your client looks like he’s having too much to drink or getting out of control, it’s your job to move him from that situation. If he doesn’t want to go with you, see ya later. You just leave.

“Don’t do anything that would jeopardize your day job.”

In the Georgia Bureau of Investigation report, some witnesses characterize the two off-duty officers with Roethlisberger at the club as enablers who neglected to take preventative measures.

The Milledgeville police chief, Woodrow Blue, who had no off-duty officers employed by Roethlisberger, said he must approve any off-the-clock work done by his force.

Asked if he would sign off on bodyguard work for celebrities, Blue paused and said, “That’s a gray area.”

He has not received any such requests. “We usually don’t have that here in Milledgeville,” he said.

Blue said Sgt. Jerry Blash, the on-duty Milledgeville police officer who took the woman’s report, has resigned from the force after his handling of the matter came under scrutiny.

Blash admitted to investigators that he made unflattering remarks about the accuser to other officers.

Also Friday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution offered more details on the 572-page Georgia Bureau of Investigation report. A second woman said that Roethlisberger had accosted her two times, once at a party at his summer home on Lake Oconee near Milledgeville, and another time in his bedroom after she had driven a drunken Roethlisberger home. The woman chose not to press charges in the matter, investigators wrote.


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