April 17, 2010 in Sports

QB’s ‘bodyguard’ faces scrutiny

Code of conduct issue follows trooper in Roethlisberger case
Associated Press
 

PITTSBURGH – A state trooper with Ben Roethlisberger the night he was accused of sexually assaulting a 20-year-old college student in a Georgia nightclub is subject to the agency’s code of conduct regardless of whether he was working for the Steelers quarterback, state police said.

An ongoing internal investigation will determine whether Trooper Ed Joyner did anything “that could reasonably be expected to destroy public respect for the Pennsylvania State Police or confidence in the state police,” said Lt. Myra Taylor, a state police spokeswoman.

A friend of the accuser said in a statement to police that a “bodyguard” refused to acknowledge that the woman, who had been drinking, was alone with Roethlisberger in the back of a nightclub in Milledgeville, Ga.

Ann Marie Lubatti told police on March 5 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 bodyguard wouldn’t look her in the eye and said he didn’t know what she was talking about.

Georgia investigators later identified that man as Joyner.

Taylor said Joyner had permission from the state police to work off-duty for Roethlisberger since 2005, with his duties including answering phones and fan mail, driving and accompanying the quarterback to charitable events. Joyner’s request to work for Roethlisberger does not include the term “bodyguard” nor is there any reference made to personal protection or similar duties, Taylor said.

A reporter who called Joyner’s barracks Friday was referred to Taylor for comment. The Associated Press could not immediately confirm the trooper’s home phone number.

Roethlisberger’s accuser said in a March 5 statement that the NFL player had sex with her after she was led by another bodyguard – identified by investigators as Coraopolis, Pa., police officer Anthony Barravecchio – to an isolated area in the club.

“Meanwhile, his bodyguards told my friends they couldn’t pass them to get to me,” she wrote in a statement the night of the incident.

Georgia officials announced earlier this week that Roethlisberger would not be charged in the case.

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