As many people who follow professional football and sports in general may have heard, a woman accused Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger of sexual assault recently. The local police and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) have been investigating the claim, although no arrests have been made as of now. In a recent article, it was reported that the GBI has decided not to request a DNA sample from Roethlisberger.
One question that has been asked in response to this story is whether this is a good thing for Roethlisberger. The answer is: not necessarily. To understand that, you have to understand what is meant by the crime sexual battery which is often called sexual assault in the media and outside of the courtroom. Sexual battery in Georgia does not typically mean rape in the sense that most of us understand the word, i.e. sexual intercourse with someone against their will. Sexual battery can include just about any physical contact with the intimate parts of another person without that person’s consent. A sexual battery crime certainly does not have to rise to the level of an actual rape, which is a separate crime in Georgia. So, a sexual battery can certainly occur without any DNA evidence being left on the victim or at the scene of the crime.
In Florida, the laws are similar. If someone rapes a person as most of us understand the term, that of course is a serious felony crime. However, if someone has unauthorized physical contact with a person’s intimate part(s), but not nonconsensual intercourse, that is a crime as well.
So, to answer the question, it depends on what the woman is saying Roethlisberger did to her. If she is accusing him of having some sort of physical contact with her intimate part(s), then DNA may not be an issue. If that is the case, the GBI withdrawing their request for Roethlisberger’s DNA may have no effect on the outcome of the case. If DNA is not an issue and Roethlisberger is ultimately charged with sexual battery or a similar crime, his likely defense will either be consent or that he just did not do it what the victim is alleging.