After a five-month review of a police investigation into domestic violence allegations against the Los Angeles Dodgers star pitcher Trevor Bauer, prosecutors in Los Angeles have declined to pursue criminal charges against him. His immediate future in Major League Baseball, though, remains unclear.
In a decision dated Tuesday, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office summarized why Bauer will not face criminal charges. Bauer, 31, was investigated by the Pasadena Police Department after a woman, who was then 27, accused him of assaulting her during sex in Pasadena, Calif., in May.
“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,” read the decision signed by Fernanda Maria Barreto, a deputy district attorney.
In June 2021, the woman sought a temporary restraining order against Bauer, which was granted without his presence. In August, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge heard testimony and evidence from both sides and dissolved the temporary protection order against Bauer and rejected the woman’s request for a more permanent one.
The judge called aspects of the woman’s protective order request “materially misleading” and, although the judge noted that photographs of the woman’s injuries were “terrible,” she ruled that Bauer had not exceeded limits on rough sex set by the woman. A week after that hearing, the Pasadena police presented their case to the district attorney’s office.
Even though Bauer won’t be charged by Los Angeles prosecutors — nor was he arrested — he could still be disciplined by M.L.B. According to the league’s domestic violence policy, which was agreed upon by the players’ union but will have to be renewed as part of a new collective bargaining agreement, a player is subject to discipline for “just cause” by the M.L.B. commissioner even in the absence of a conviction or a guilty plea. In its definition of domestic violence, the policy states that “a single incident of abusive behavior in any intimate relationship” may subject a player to discipline.
In a statement on Tuesday, M.L.B. said its investigation into Bauer was “ongoing, and we will comment further at the appropriate time.” A new collective bargaining agreement is still being negotiated by M.L.B. and the players’ union. Club owners locked out the players on Dec. 2, the day after the previous labor pact expired, and little progress has been made since.
M.L.B.’s investigation into Bauer also encompasses an incident that came to light in August, when a Washington Post article detailed how an Ohio woman had sought a protective order against him last year after accusing him of punching and choking her without consent during sex. According to the report, the woman dropped the request six weeks after filing it and after Bauer’s lawyers threatened legal action. Bauer called the report “a false narrative.”
In a YouTube video posted after the Los Angeles prosecutors’ decision not to charge him on Tuesday, Bauer defended his behavior toward the woman in California.
“While we did have consensual rough sex, the disturbing acts and conduct that she described simply did not occur,” he said.
He continued, “You may not be my biggest fan or agree with everything that I’ve said over the years. That’s OK. I’m not a perfect person. And if you want to judge me for engaging in rough sex with a woman that I hardly knew, that’s OK, too. In evaluating my life in the recent months, it’s clear I’ve made some poor choices, particularly in regards to the people I’ve chosen to associate with. But I am not the person that this woman, her lawyers and certain members of the media have painted me to be. Allegations like this are extremely serious and they should be thoroughly investigated, as has happened in this matter.”
The woman’s legal team declined to comment on Tuesday.
In her past court filings and her testimony, the woman has said that she initiated contact with Bauer and that what began as a consensual relationship in April, with some agreed-upon rough sex, led to sexual acts that were not consensual. She has also said she was choked with her hair until she lost consciousness. She said that she returned to Bauer’s house in Pasadena in May and established a safe word that would signal her desire to stop but that she was again choked until she lost consciousness and was punched.
Bauer, who won the National League Cy Young Award in 2020 with Cincinnati, signed a free-agent deal with the Dodgers, that year’s World Series champions, for three years and a guaranteed $102 million before the 2021 season. He went 8-5 with a 2.59 E.R.A. for the Dodgers. He spent the second half of the season on paid administrative leave, which is not considered disciplinary but is a temporary procedural move used during pending investigations.