Trevor Bauer will not face criminal charges following sexual assault allegation
After a five-month review of the Pasadena police investigation into allegations of sexual assault against him, Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer will not face criminal charges, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office announced Tuesday.
That the district attorney decided criminal charges were not warranted does not mean Bauer has been cleared to rejoin the Dodgers. Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred retains the right to suspend Bauer.
Manfred is widely expected to do so, but not soon. MLB issued a statement moments after the district attorney decision: “MLB’s investigation is ongoing, and we will comment further at the appropriate time.”
Bauer had two sexual encounters with a San Diego woman last year at his Pasadena home. The district attorney opted not to file assault charges in the first encounter in April and domestic violence charges in the second encounter in May, determining there was insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Bauer committed a crime.
The district attorney’s office made the decision after reviewing electronic messages between Bauer and his accuser, the Pasadena police investigation and a transcript of the civil restraining order proceedings in August, according to two people with detailed knowledge of the review.
The declination of charges by the district attorney’s office included the following: “After a thorough review of all the available evidence including the civil restraining order proceedings, witness statements and the physical evidence — the People are unable to prove the relevant charges beyond a reasonable doubt. Those charges were assault by means likely to cause great bodily harm, sodomy of a sleeping person and domestic violence.”
Shortly after the declination of charges, Bauer released a seven-minute video he called “The Truth,” in which he underscored what his attorneys have long maintained, and what he said Tuesday’s decision established: He engaged in two nights of rough but consensual sex.
“My version of events has not wavered, because it is the truth,” Bauer said. “I also have not materially misled the court, as it was found that this woman did.”
Bauer said the woman stayed overnight at his home on both nights and left the next morning “without any incident or concern.”
He added: “When she left, she certainly did not look anything like the photos that were later attached to her family court declaration and circulated by her lawyers to the media.”
Bauer said he wanted to make clear what did not happen during those encounters.
“I never punched this woman in the face,” he said. “I never punched her in the vagina. I never scratched her face. I never had anal sex with her, or sodomized her in any way.
“I never assaulted her in any way, at any time. And, while we did have consensual rough sex, the disturbing acts and conduct she described simply did not occur.”
Bauer thanked his supporters and criticized media members he said had relied on the woman’s version of events to “convict me in the court of public opinion.”
He concluded his video by saying, “Thanks for hearing me out, and I’ll see you all very soon.”
Bauer last pitched for the Dodgers on June 28, the day before the woman obtained a temporary restraining order against him. After a four-day court hearing in August, a judge lifted the restraining order, ruling Bauer was not likely “to cause [the accuser] any harm or even have contact” with her. The woman testified at the hearing but Bauer did not, because anything he said in any forum could have been used against him in a potential criminal case.
On July 2, MLB put Bauer on a paid leave that ultimately extended through the end of the 2021 season, taking him off the field while the league conducted its own investigation. With Bauer cleared of criminal liability, MLB is expected to ask Bauer to meet with its investigators, who would present their findings and solicit his responses.
For Bauer and his representatives, the immediate priority appears to be a subpoena of Pasadena police, demanding all cellphone records from Bauer’s accuser. In a court filing, Bauer’s attorneys said they would “serve the subpoena as soon as the district attorney announces whether charges will be brought” because those records would “not be available” until the conclusion of the police investigation and the subsequent decision of the district attorney.
The attorneys argued that subpoena would be the only way for them to access information they claimed the woman had “systematically deleted and hid” in support of what they called her “improper motives.” In a separate court filing, his attorneys claimed she had pursued the matter “to generate publicity, try to end [Bauer’s] baseball career, and gain a monetary settlement.”
Trevor Bauer won’t face criminal charges over sexual assault accusations. The Dodgers must leave no doubt he’s not welcome to return anyway.
Bauer’s representatives already have served subpoenas, according to a person familiar with the case, but the woman could ask a court to quash them. In a court filing, a lawyer for the woman said Bauer had introduced the prospect of the subpoena within a legal notice of intent to seek attorneys’ fees, making that filing “a disguised vehicle to open discovery” in the closed matter of the restraining order.
Under baseball’s domestic violence and sexual assault policy, Manfred is empowered to suspend a player judged to have violated the policy even if the player has not been charged or convicted. In 2019, for instance, Dodgers pitcher Julio Urías was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor domestic battery after witnesses claimed he shoved his girlfriend to the ground in a Beverly Center parking lot. The woman said she fell. Urías was not charged, but Manfred suspended him for 20 games.
The league has suspended 15 players over the six years of the policy, with suspensions ranging from 15 games to 162 games.
None of those players was publicly identified with more than one alleged victim. The Washington Post reported an Ohio woman claimed she had suffered injuries during a sexual encounter in which Bauer punched and choked her without consent; the woman has cooperated with MLB investigators. Bauer’s agents have dismissed those allegations as “categorically false.”
In the case of the San Diego woman, she provided medical records that showed doctors had diagnosed her with “assault by manual strangulation” and “acute head injury” following a sexual encounter, in which she said Bauer choked her with her own hair and punched her in the face and vagina. In her testimony in court, the accuser said, “I did not consent to bruises all over my body that sent me to the hospital, and having that done to me while I was unconscious.” Bauer’s agents have said the encounter was “wholly consensual.”
In lifting the temporary restraining order, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dianna Gould-Saltman said the woman’s injuries, as depicted in photographs, were “terrible.” But the judge also said the only evidence of any injury the woman sustained while unconscious resulted from getting “hit on the butt.” The judge also said the woman was “not ambiguous about wanting rough sex in the … first encounter and wanting rougher sex in the second encounter.”
Baseball’s domestic violence and sexual assault policy states that “a single incident of abusive behavior … may subject a player to discipline.” The policy also states that “lack of consent is inferred when a person uses force, harassment, threat of force … or other coercion, or when the victim is asleep, incapacitated, unconscious or legally incapable of consent.”
It is unlikely that Manfred would impose a suspension so long as owners continue to lock out players, as they have since Dec. 2 after the expiration of MLB’s collective bargaining agreement.
Will Trevor Bauer face a long suspension? Here are answers to key questions lingering after the district attorney declined to charge Bauer with sexual assault.
Every player previously suspended under the policy has accepted a settlement with the league. If Manfred determines Bauer has violated the policy, and Bauer declines to accept a settlement, Manfred can impose a suspension. Bauer can then appeal to an arbitrator, who can uphold, reduce or overturn the suspension.
Bauer was on administrative leave for the Dodgers’ final 81 games of the regular season — that is, half the season — and the Dodgers’ 12 postseason games. If he were to be suspended, he could attempt to negotiate a “time served” provision as part of a settlement with the commissioner’s office.
Players are not paid while suspended under the policy. The Dodgers owe Bauer $64 million over the next two seasons. If Bauer completes a suspension, the Dodgers can try to void the balance of his contract, but Bauer also would be able to appeal.
The accuser retains the right to sue Bauer in a civil case. In a criminal case, charges must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. In a civil case, in which a defendant could be liable for financial damages but would not be subject to jail time, the burden of proof is lighter: Charges must be proved more likely than not to be true.
However, the woman would bear this burden: The judge who lifted the restraining order said she had been “materially misleading” in parts of her written testimony to the court.
The Dodgers unnecessarily signed a pitcher with a history of making troublesome decisions when they already had the best team in baseball.
That would be the foundation of Bauer’s argument that he should not be suspended at all, essentially framing the matter as “he said vs. she said, and she’s a liar.” Bauer said as much in a stream of tweets in January, including this one: “There are two people who know what happened. One is a habitual liar, proven to have misled the court. The other hasn’t spoken about it.”
In the woman’s initial court filing, six weeks after she had met with detectives from the Pasadena police, which had launched a felony assault investigation, she wrote that she had sought the restraining order in part because she was “deeply concerned that no arrest has been made or charges filed.”
She signed that document on June 28. No arrest ever was made. With the district attorney’s decision, no criminal charges will be filed.
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