SEATTLE -- Three of the Cincinnati Bengals accused of gang- raping a woman two years ago have filed a countersuit in federal court for defamation and breach of contract.
Wide receiver Tim McGee, running back Eric Ball and safety Barney Bussey are the three who filed suit against the woman, identified as 'Victoria C.', who claims she was raped by 12 Cincinnati players in October, 1990. The mother of four filed a civil suit in Seattle earlier this year accusing the players of 'brutally and sadistically' raping her.
Eight other current and former Bengals who allegedly stood by while the alleged attack in question took place are accused of negligence in the suit filed by the woman in U.S. District Court in Seattle.
No criminal charges have been filed but her suit seeks damages from the players and the Bengals organization.
Also accused of rape by the woman were safety David Fulcher, tight end Rodney Holman, Eric Thomas, Rickey Dixon, James Francis and Reggie Rembert and former players Ickey Woods, Lewis Billups, Bernard Clark and Craig Ogletree. Running backs Ball and Harold Green, and injured wide receiver Eddie Brown were accused of negligence along with former Bengals Leo Barker, Craig Taylor, Solomon Wilcots, Carl Carter and unsigned running back Mitchell Price.
The countersuit filed by McGee, Ball and Bussey accused the woman of making 'irresponsible claims' and breaching a contract in which she agreed not to take legal action in exchange for $30,000.
'My clients were hurt emotionally and economically,' said Bengals' attorney Brad Keller in the Cincinnati Enquirer Sunday. 'These are reckless claims. My clients were nowhere near the hotel room.'
Eight Bengals were served with summonses September 5, one day before Cincinnati's season opener at Seattle. The players were given 20 days to respond to the summons. While McGee, Ball and Bussey have filed the countersuit, the others received 30-day extensions. Francis, Green, Rembert, Thomas and Holman were the others who were served.
U.S. District Court Judge John Coughenour set June 7, 1993 as the trial date.
Earleir this month, the team issued the following statement:
'The Cincinnati Bengals are cooperating in the pending case in Seattle and moving the case to a conclusion. With the naming of certain individual players, the cloud over the entire team no longer exists. The individuals who have been named as defendents now can have their day in court where they can defend themselves.
The Bengals have maintained from the outset that the complaint against the organization is unmeritorious. The Bengals will continue to take whatever action is appropriate to have the complaint against the organization dismissed.'