We were told that he changed. We were told that he'd grown. We were told that he'd turn over a new leaf.
There's a shih tzu named Muffin that would beg to differ.
Ace reporter Cristin Severance - best known for breaking the evidence-free second-hand story that became urban legend of the kid in the Jets jersey supposedly being tackled by a Browns fan - is on the trail again, this time with much more solid evidence: A guy named Ray from her apartment building swears it's true.
Ray informed Ms. Severance that the hypothetically "reformed" Ben Roethlisberger was once again involved in a case of alleged sexual misconduct, this time with his neighbor's prized pet.
Harold and Sally McStuffin of Dreary Lane in Hampton, PA, have come forward with a disturbing tale, one that should bring pause to the torrent of national adoration currently being heaped on the former alleged rapist.
"We had to go out of town for a doily convention and Muffin couldn't come," stammered Sally, 48, a long time housewife. "She doesn't like the pound, so we usually have someone watch her while we're away. Just come over, let her out, give her a walk, feed her, play with her, read her a book... the usual."
"Well, that Ben seemed like such a nice boy, and so famous..."
"And so tall," her husband interjected.
"When we asked him if he could look in on our Muffin for a few days, we never imagined what would happen," she continued. "How could we?"
The McStuffins have a high-tech security system installed in their home - Sally has a world-class collection of porcelain Disney figurines - and that includes video cameras in every room.
"When we got home, Muffin was acting strange," Sally continued, her voice breaking. "She didn't run out to greet us, she didn't nip at Harold's leg, nothing. She just laid on her cushion in her bedroom, sad, confused..."
Harold said that they just thought it was separation anxiety, something that Muffin had suffered from in the past. But when her depression dragged on into the second day, he decided to look at the tapes.
"I just wanted to see if maybe something happened to her that might be causing her distress," he explained. "And when we watched it, we knew what it was."
On the tape, in grainy black and white, was the evidence that Mr. Roethlisberger had had "relations" with their beloved pet.
"It was awful," moaned Sally. "He was holding Muffin up in the air... you could tell from the look on her face that she didn't know what was going on."
When asked if maybe the sex was consensual, Sally was adamant in her reply.
"One bark means yes, two barks means no," she said. "There were clearly two barks on that tape."
The McStuffins have now entered Muffin into counseling, and, although very angry, are still glad that things didn't go worse.
"Muffin is a pure bred, so, naturally, we were very relieved that the incident didn't result in conception. She'll never be the same as is, but imagine if she also had a mongrel litter to support," said Sally.
"You've seen the guy," interjected Harold. "He ain't winning no 'Best of Show', I can tell you that."
Unfortunately for the McStuffins, Harold accidentally recorded an episode of Dancing With The Stars over the evidence, but that does not lessen their outrage. "We want this lunatic brought to justice!" proclaimed Harold. "Or some money!"
When reached regarding the alleged misconduct, Mr. Roethlisberger was not in a receptive mood. "I will not respond to these alleganations. I did not have sex with that dog, and, if I did, it was consensual," he told Ms. Severance, who actually decided to try and maybe investigate the story before breaking it this time.
"This is ridiculous," said Humbert Humbert, one of Ben's bodyguards and a local police officer. "Ben doesn't need to go around screwing dogs. He can get any girl he wants."
"All we do is go to some dive, find the drunkest girl there, separate her from her friends, get her in some back room or restroom, and then Ben whips out his junk. Works better than a bottle of Boone's and a fancy dinner at Golden Corral."
Ben's mother Beulah was mystified by the accusations. "I don't know what the big deal is," she said. "Ben's girlfriends have always been dogs."
Ben's father, Herman, explained the situation to her. "No, honey, they mean an actual dog this time."
"A... dog? A real dog?" Beulah exclaimed.
"Yes," Herman replied
Beulah shrugged. "Well, that's new."
Except that it's not. The Muffin Affair is just another of a long line of disturbing incidents that show a pattern of reckless and criminal behavior, behavior which has gone unpunished for far too long. Mr. Roethlisberger says that he's humbled, that he's changed his ways, but no amount of crocodile tears can wash away his trail of shame.
It's time for the pound to come and take this hound away.
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