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Friday, September 6
 
Police investigating accusation against Bettis

ESPN.com news services

PITTSBURGH -- Police are investigating Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis after a woman accused him of sexual misconduct.

Jerome Bettis
Bettis

The woman, who was not identified, told police Bettis attacked her in his car on Aug. 21, after she'd met him at a bar to have a football autographed.

Bettis' lawyer, Bob Del Greco, confirmed Friday that police in Greensburg -- about 30 miles east of Pittsburgh -- contacted the player about the woman's claim. Del Greco said Bettis is cooperating with the investigation.

Bettis did not answer questions about the allegations, but made a short statement before the team's practice Friday, the last full workout before Monday's season opener at New England.

"Unfortunately, due to the situation, I can't speak about the issues at hand. But I do want to let everyone know, the people of Pittsburgh know, that today I have a heavy heart because of the situation,'' Bettis said.

"I'm going to do the best I can and fully cooperate and do everything I can do to aid in this situation so that we can see this situation through.''

Bettis told ESPN's Kevin Frazier Friday night that he categorically denies any wrongdoing or sexual misconduct. He also said that a lie detector test supported that he was telling the truth.

"I just hope people everywhere realize that I did nothing wrong," Bettis told ESPN. "I have cooperated fully with the police, taken a lie detector test and I just want this situation resolved."

Del Greco refused to provide details about the woman's accusation, which was first reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in Friday's editions. The lawyer also said Bettis had passed a voice-stress analysis, a type of lie-detector test.

"Jerome didn't engage in any sexual misconduct or criminal activity,'' Del Greco said.

Greensburg Police Chief Richard Baric said Bettis consented to a search of his vehicle Friday. Baric added he would not know what the search yielded until Monday, because any potential evidence must first be processed by Westmoreland County detectives.

Police have recovered the football and other physical evidence, but Baric didn't go into specifics. Asked if Bettis submitted a blood sample so police could perform a DNA or other test to support the woman's allegations, Baric said, "he has cooperated fully with all requests we have made of him.''

The woman told police she met Bettis earlier in August and asked if he would autograph a football for her 2-year-old son at a later date, Baric said.

The Steelers were in training camp at the time near Latrobe, about 10 miles east of Greensburg.

The woman said that when she saw Bettis the second time on Aug. 21, the two went to her car to retrieve a ball. Bettis then asked the woman if she wanted to get into his vehicle, according to a police report.

The woman told police Bettis drove out of the parking lot, parked on a street and forced her to perform oral sex.

She said Bettis told her, "You better not fight. You better not do anything.''

Once the investigation is complete, a report is expected to be made to Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck, who will decide if charges should be filed.

Bettis is scheduled to play in the Steelers' season opener Monday night against New England.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.




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