PITTSBURGH (AP) — An arbitrator has rejected the appeal of a Pennsylvania State Police trooper who wanted to return to his off-duty work for Ben Roethlisberger, for whom the trooper had worked as a personal assistant and accompanied the night of the Steelers quarterback’s encounter with a woman at a Georgia bar that led to sex assault allegations.
The arbitrator’s report, issued May 12, also found Roethlisberger provided “perks” to state police by giving them seats in his private luxury suite at Heinz Field and appearing at their charity fundraisers. The newspaper reported that state police officials in Harrisburg wouldn’t name the supervisors who benefited from Trooper Ed Joyner’s relationship with Roethlisberger, and declined to comment on the matter.
Details of the appeal denial were first reported Wednesday by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Joyner had been permitted by the state police to work as Roethlisberger’s personal assistant, but the agency rescinded that supplementary approval permission because of the Georgia accusations. Joyner was one of two police officers who witnesses said acted as bodyguards for Roethlisberger on March 5, 2010, the night the quarterback was accused of sexually assaulting a college student at a nightclub in Milledgeville, Ga. Roethlisberger denied the accusation, and Georgia prosecutors declined to charge him, citing a lack of evidence and reluctance by his accuser to press for charges.
Joyner, 42, had appealed through the state troopers’ union in an attempt to regain permission to do moonlighting work for Roethlisberger.
At a grievance hearing in October, Joyner said the scope of his duties for Roethlisberger expanded after he began working for the Super Bowl star in 2005. Joyner, a recruiter and patrolman assigned to Troop B in Washington, Pa., “was actually performing duties that amounted to whatever Mr. Roethlisberger needed someone to do,” arbitrator John M. Skonier wrote in his report. In his decision, Skonier wrote that he ruled against Joyner in part because it became “difficult to determine where the ‘job’ ends and the friendship begins.”
The arbitrator cited Joyner’s failure to submit documents to his superiors concerning his expanded duties, according to a copy of the decision obtained by The Associated Press.
The job grew to include “retrieving items from the hotel room if Roethlisberger needed something while playing in a celebrity golf tournament; tipping pilots, limousine drivers, etc., on trips; contacting stores to arrange for private shopping trips; detailing Roethlisberger’s automobiles; cutting his grass; contacting contractors to obtain quotes for work around the house or landscaping,” according to the grievance hearing decision.
A telephone number for Joyner could not immediately be obtained by The Associated Press. A state police spokesman declined to comment.
Bruce Edwards, union president of the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association, did not immediately return a phone message left Wednesday by The Associated Press. But he told the Tribune-Review that Joyner’s superiors failed to prove that he demeaned the force with his behaviour, a core argument in the case against him.
“The PSTA was proud to represent Trooper Joyner, who has an exemplary record serving the Pennsylvania State Police,” Edwards said in a statement to the paper.
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