Prosecutors drop rape case

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 20, 2005

STRONGSVILLE (AP) - Prosecutors have decided there is not enough evidence to file charges in the case of a woman who said she was repeatedly raped at the home of a Cleveland Browns player.

The Huron woman told police that she was kidnapped, raped and drugged at the home of Browns lineman Ross Verba on Dec. 18.

Verba, the only Browns offensive lineman to start all 16 games this season, has not been accused of wrongdoing.

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On Friday, Strongsville police said that a review by the Strongsville prosecutor and law director and the Cuyahoga County prosecutor's office found that evidence in the case fell short of what would be necessary to bring criminal charges against anyone.

Statements from the five men at the home said the sex was consensual, and statements from friends of the 39-year-old woman said she gave them an account of events that was similar to the men's version.

A female friend who picked up the Huron woman at a drugstore in Berea on the afternoon of Dec. 18 said the woman bragged and laughed about all the sex she had with Browns players. The friend quoted the woman as saying, ''This was my night - I needed to get out.''

Investigators had initially dropped the case, but reopened it after an Erie County woman told police she was raped at Verba's house on Dec. 30.

Strongsville police said Friday that they expect to complete an investigation of the allegations made by the Erie County woman soon.