Editor’s note: This article contains graphic details.
Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer will not be criminally charged by Los Angeles prosecutors, the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office said Tuesday. The ruling concludes a five-month review of the case, which stems from sexual assault allegations made against Bauer by a San Diego woman who sought a restraining order against him in June.
The District Attorney’s Office considered and rejected charges of assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury and sodomy of an unconscious person during the first sexual encounter between Bauer and the woman on April 22, and domestic violence during the second sexual encounter on May 16. As part of its declination, the District Attorney’s Office wrote: “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.”
Bauer, who spent the final three months of the 2021 regular season on administrative leave, still faces potential discipline from Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, who has the autonomy to hand out suspensions under the domestic violence policy that was previously agreed to jointly with the MLB Players Association.
In a statement, MLB said its investigation into Bauer “is ongoing, and we will comment further at the appropriate time.” The conclusion of the criminal investigation — more than five months after an L.A. judge dismissed the woman’s request for a restraining order — could allow the league to interview Bauer, which would seemingly expedite the process. But the league is not expected to dole out a potential suspension until after the current lockout concludes.
What’s next for Trevor Bauer after L.A. district attorney declines to charge him?
The Dodgers, who owe Bauer upward of $47 million in 2022, declined to comment and stated they would not do so until MLB concludes its investigation.
Shortly after the ruling was made, Bauer posted a seven-plus-minute video to YouTube titled “The Truth,” during which he firmly denied the allegations made by the woman, talked about how difficult the past few months have been on him and blamed certain segments of the media for not reporting on the subject in a manner that he considered fair.
Bauer, who decided not to testify during the civil trial in late August because of a pending criminal investigation by the Pasadena Police Department, acknowledged he engaged in rough sex with the woman but stated that it was consensual, at one point saying in the video:
“She chose to stay the night, both times, and left the following day without any incident or concern. And 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. While this is not the time, nor the place, to address every single lie or falsehood that this woman or her lawyers made to the court, I do want to be crystal clear about a few things: I never punched this woman in the face. 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 that she described simply did not occur.”
Bauer joined the Dodgers in February 2021 on an inventive short-term contract that would pay him up to $85 million over the course of two seasons, but he didn’t pitch beyond June 28 of its first year.
The following day, the then-27-year-old San Diego woman filed a request for a domestic violence restraining order in which she detailed allegations that Bauer assaulted her over the course of two sexual encounters at his Pasadena, California, home in April and May. In her declaration, the woman — whom ESPN has chosen not to name — alleged that Bauer took rough sex too far, saying that he choked her unconscious on multiple occasions, repeatedly scratched and punched her throughout her body, sodomized her without consent and left her with injuries that prompted a trip to the emergency room.
The declaration included photographs of the woman’s injuries, as well as medical records that show she underwent a SART exam and CT scan and diagnosed her with an acute head injury and “assault by manual strangulation.” Bauer’s attorneys, Jon Fetterolf and Rachel Luba, denied the accusations, calling them “fraudulent” and “baseless” in an initial statement.
MLB placed Bauer on paid administrative leave on July 2, allowing time for criminal and internal investigations to play out and continually extended his leave through the end of the postseason. On July 7, the Dodgers canceled Bauer’s scheduled bobblehead night and removed his merchandise from their stores, stating that the team “did not feel it was appropriate while investigations continue.”
At the conclusion of a four-day hearing on Aug. 19, L.A. Superior Court Judge Dianna Gould-Saltman dissolved the temporary restraining order, ruling that Bauer did not pose a continual threat to the woman and that her injuries were “not the result of anything she verbally objected to before or during the encounter,” pointing to texts from the woman in which she asked to be choked out. The judge said the “injuries as shown in the photographs are terrible,” but added: “If she set limits and he exceeded them, this case would’ve been clear. But she set limits without considering all the consequences, and respondent did not exceed limits that the petitioner set.”
Days before the start of that hearing, the Washington Post published a story about a second woman, from Ohio, who sought a temporary restraining order against Bauer in June 2020 and also accused him of assault. The woman dismissed the order six weeks later, after Bauer’s attorneys threatened legal action, according to the report. The Post story included photographs showing injuries that were allegedly caused by Bauer, as well as threatening messages, one in which Bauer allegedly wrote: “I don’t feel like spending time in jail for killing someone. And that’s what would happen if I saw you again.” Bauer’s attorneys called the woman’s allegations of physical abuse “categorically false” and questioned the validity of the photos and messages.
The Pasadena Police Department concluded its investigation of Bauer on Aug. 27, sending the case to the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office, which spent the next five months reviewing the findings. MLB’s investigation thusly stalled while awaiting resolution of the criminal element and finding itself in the midst of a lockout.
Sixteen players have been disciplined since MLB and the MLBPA announced its domestic violence policy in August 2015, with suspensions ranging anywhere from 15 to 162 games (Felipe Vazquez, a former Pittsburgh Pirates reliever, has been on indefinite suspension since being convicted of sexually assaulting a minor in August 2021). The most recent suspension was given to Atlanta Braves outfielder Marcell Ozuna, who was retroactively docked 20 games for his role in a domestic dispute with his wife.
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