Los Angeles Dodgers’ Trevor Bauer suspended for two seasons

Major League Baseball announced a 324-game suspension for the Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer on Friday, the equivalent of two full seasons, making it by far the harshest sentence handed out under the sport’s domestic violence policy.

Bauer quickly released a statement announcing he was appealing the suspension, becoming the first player to appeal the sanction through MLB’s domestic violence policy.

“In the strongest possible terms, I deny any violation of the league’s domestic violence and sexual assault policy,” Bauer said. statement read. I am appealing this action and expect to prevail. As we have done throughout this process, my representatives and I respect the confidentiality of the proceedings.”

Bauer, 31, is charged with sexual assault by a San Diego woman who sought a restraining order and accused him of taking rough sex too far during two encounters last April and May. An LA judge denied the woman a permanent restraining order in August, and the LA County District Attorney’s Office declined to file criminal charges in February.

Bauer joined the Dodgers on a three-year, $102 million deal in February 2021, after winning the National League’s Cy Young Award in the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season. He spent the final 81 games of the regular season in the administrative league, plus another 18 to start the 2022 season. But his 324-game suspension doesn’t begin until Friday, meaning he doesn’t get credit for the time spent.

Bauer’s suspension, if it holds the appeal process, will last until Game 19 of the 2024 season, when his three-year contract with the Dodgers expires. The Dodgers will not pay Bauer during his suspension.

MLB announced the suspension with a short statement that did not provide details of its findings, adding, “Consistent with the terms of the policy, the commissioner’s office will not issue any further statements at this time.”

The Dodgers, who are at home to the Detroit Tigers this weekend, released the following statement:

“Today we were informed that MLB has concluded its investigation into the allegations against Trevor Bauer, and the commissioner has issued his decision regarding discipline. The Dodgers organization takes all allegations of this nature very seriously. and does not condone or condone any act of domestic violence or sexual assault.We have fully cooperated with MLB’s investigation since its inception, and we fully support MLB’s Joint Domestic Violence Policy, of sexual assault and child abuse, as well as the commissioner’s application of the policy. We understand that Trevor has the right to appeal the commissioner’s decision. Therefore, we will not comment further until the process is not complete.

Bauer is the 16th player suspended since August 2015, when Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Association unveiled their joint policy on domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse, which grants the MLB commissioner , Rob Manfred, autonomy to suspend players for “just cause”. Those suspensions – not counting that of former reliever Felipe Vazquez, who is serving a prison sentence for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl – have lasted from 15 to 162 games and were the result of negotiated settlements in which players waived their right of appeal.

Bauer last pitched on June 28 last year. The next day, a then 27-year-old woman filed a domestic violence restraining order in which she detailed allegations that Bauer assaulted her during two sexual encounters at her home in Pasadena, California. , in April and May. In her statement, the woman – who ESPN chose not to name – said Bauer took consensual rough sex too far, alleging he repeatedly choked her unconscious, scratched her and punched her. repeatedly all over her body, had sodomized her without consent. and left her with injuries that warranted a trip to the ER.

Bauer and his attorneys, Jon Fetterolf and Rachel Luba, have strongly denied the charges throughout, calling them “fraudulent” and “baseless” in an initial statement.

Bauer was first placed on administrative leave — a means by which players receive their full salary but are not permitted at major league facilities while investigations are ongoing — on July 2. Five days later, the Dodgers canceled Bauer’s scheduled bobblehead night and removed his merchandise from its stores, stating that the team “did not feel it was appropriate while investigations continue.”

After a four-day hearing on August 19, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dianna Gould-Saltman overturned the temporary restraining order, ruling that Bauer did not pose a continuing threat to the woman and that her injuries were not the result of anything. she verbally objected before or during the encounter, pointing to texts from the woman in which she asked to be stifled.

The judge said “the injuries as shown in the photos are terrible”, but added: “If she had set limits and he had exceeded them, this case would have been clear. But she set limits without regard to all the consequences, and the respondent did not exceed the limits set by the plaintiff.”

A few days before this hearing began, The Washington Post published an article about a second woman, from Ohio, who filed for a temporary restraining order against Bauer in June 2020 and also charged him with assault. The woman rejected the order six weeks later after Bauer’s lawyers threatened legal action, according to the report. The Post article included photographs showing injuries allegedly caused by Bauer, as well as threatening messages, including one in which Bauer allegedly wrote, “I don’t want to spend time in jail for killing someone. one. And that’s what would happen if I saw you again.”

Bauer’s lawyers called the woman’s allegations of physical abuse “categorically untrue” and questioned the validity of the photos and messages.

The Pasadena Police Department concluded its investigation into Bauer’s incident with the San Diego woman on August 27, sending the case to the LA County District Attorney’s Office, which spent the next five months reviewing the case. affair before declaring on February 8 that it would not be. pursue criminal proceedings. The district attorney’s office reviewed and dismissed charges of assault by means likely to produce grievous bodily harm and sodomy of an unconscious person during Bauer’s first sexual encounter with the woman on April 22 and domestic violence during the second intercourse on May 16.

As part of its declination, the district attorney’s office wrote, “After a thorough review of all available evidence, including civil injunction proceedings, witness statements and physical evidence, the people are unable to prove the relevant charges beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Bauer quickly posted a seven-minute video on YouTube in which he described his version of events, saying at one point, “I never punched that woman in the face. I never punched her in the vagina. .I have never scratched her face.I have never had anal sex with her or sodomized her in any way.I have never assaulted her in any way, except no time, and although we had some consensual rough sex, the disturbing acts and behaviors she described just didn’t happen.

The woman, who provided photographs and medical records as part of her domestic violence restraining order statement, claimed she woke up the morning after the second sex with two black eyes, a swollen jaw and cheekbones, dark red scratches on the right side of her. face, bruised gums, a bump on the side of her head, a split upper lip, black bruises on the top of her vagina and multiple bruises on her right buttock.

Over the past two months, as MLB continued its investigation, Bauer’s attorneys filed defamation lawsuits against two media companies, alleging that Deadspin knowingly published false information in its coverage of the sexual assault allegations and that The Athletic had carried out “a campaign to maliciously target and harass”. “Bauer.

Bauer’s attorneys also subpoenaed the Pasadena Police Department for his accuser’s missing phone records, saying in a court filing that “the requested documents will further reveal the plaintiff’s plan to ruin the reputation and career of the respondent and to earn a large salary by making false and misleading allegations in his petition.”

But Gould-Saltman ruled in an April 4 hearing that Bauer would not be aware of the phone records, saying her lawyers had not filed the proper motion and that she would nonetheless have been skeptical of an argument according to which the tapes would help them show the woman cheated the legal process and must pay her attorney fees.

On Monday, Bauer’s attorneys filed a defamation and tort interference suit against the woman in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The lawsuit claims she “fabricated sexual assault allegations”, “pursued false criminal and civil actions”, “made false and malicious statements” and “generated a media blitz based on her lies” in to “destroy” Bauer’s reputation, “draw attention to herself” and “extract millions of dollars”.

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