PONTIAC, Mich., Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Detroit Lions quarterback Charlie Batch and Miami Dolphins receiver Dedric Ward refuted allegations brought Thursday in a lawsuit filed by a woman who said she was raped by the players last year in Las Vegas.
Batch, Ward, Lions safety Ron Rice and former Lions safety Tyree Talton were named in the lawsuit, which according to a report in the Detroit News alleges the quartet drugged and repeatedly raped the 34-year-old woman in March 2000.
According to the newspaper, the Las Vegas police investigated the allegations, but decided against pressing criminal charges in May 2000. Although police found evidence of sexual activity, they were unsure whether or not it was consensual and closed the case three months later.
That has prompted the civil case, which usually carries a lesser burden of proof. The report said the woman released news of her lawsuit through her attorneys and a public relations firm.
"I vehemently deny the allegations," said a statement released by Batch, who is out for the season with a shoulder injury. "The police investigated in May 2000 and found nothing illegal took place. The courts will provide my complete vindication. We will aggressively pursue all available legal remedies."
"These allegations are completely false and totally without merit," Ward said. "The Las Vegas Police Department did a thorough investigation and found no validity whatsoever to those allegations. I will vigorously defend myself against these baseless and unfounded accusations."
The newspaper printed a similar denial from Talton, but could not locate Rice for comment. Rice also is on injured reserve.
"We are currently investigating the reported incident and will make a further statement once additional information is gathered," Lions president Matt Millen said.