Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer has his restraining order rescinded by judge
Warning: This story contains descriptions of violence.
LOS ANGELES -- A Los Angeles judge on Thursday ruled in favor of Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer, rescinding a restraining order that had been in force against him since late June after a woman accused him of assaulting her in his home this year.
The decision came after more than nine hours of testimony this week by the accuser in a court hearing to determine whether the restraining order she requested was warranted based on the evidence. Judge Dianna Gould-Saltman concluded the answer was no.
Bauer did not testify at the four-day hearing as the judge ruled he did not have to take the stand. The judge asked Bauer whether he intended to invoke the Fifth Amendment. "Yes, your Honor," he said.
In explaining her decision, the judge said there was no supporting evidence that Bauer was likely to cause the accuser harm or contact her again. The judge said Bauer did not exceed the limits the accuser had set during sex.
"If she set limits and he exceeded them, this case would be very clear," the judge said. "But she set limits without fully considering all the consequences." The judge referenced a text message the accuser had sent Bauer, in which the woman said she "wanted all the pain."
"In a written exchange, petitioner (the accuser) said that she 'wanted all the pain,' " the judge said. "Those were her words. Should respondent (Bauer) have believed her?"
The judge referred to testimony in which the accuser said Bauer ceased doing two things she didn't like during sex after she communicated it to him. During the second of their two sexual encounters, the woman testified he stopped their rough sex after she told him "daddy," which was part of her pre-arranged safe word, "daddy issues."
The judge added that she found the accuser's original application for a temporary restraining order in June to be "materially misleading."
The woman testified this week that Bauer choked her unconscious during two sexual encounters in Pasadena in April and May and punched her in the face and vagina during the second encounter. His attorneys cited text messages from her in which she asked him for rough sex, including being choked unconscious and slapped.
USA TODAY does not identify individuals who allege sexual crimes without their permission.
"I’m sure it was painful and unpleasant for her, and that is unfortunate," Bauer's attorney, Shawn Holley, said during closing arguments Thursday. "I’m not making excuses for that, but she asked for the rough sex … She asked to be choked out. She said she liked it. He asked her, 'What shouldn’t I do?' "
Bauer remains in limbo on two other serious fronts:
► Pasadena police have been investigating the matter.
► Major League Baseball is investigating, too, and could discipline him. Late Thursday afternoon, MLB announced it was extending Bauer's leave until Aug. 27. An attorney representing MLB attended the hearing every day this week and observed from the jury box. Bauer has been on paid leave since July 2 after signing a three-year, $102 million contract in February.
The restraining order case came to a head this week with Bauer attending the proceedings every day, backed by his two baseball agents, his attorney and parents.
The accuser testified this week that she sought the restraining order in late June because she feared what Bauer might do after he learned she went to the hospital with injuries after the second sexual encounter, including bruises on her face and vagina. The court granted her request for the restraining order then on a temporary basis until the evidence could be weighed by a judge at this hearing.
Bauer has not been arrested or charged. His representatives have said his relations with the woman were consensual and that she is motivated to gain a monetary settlement.
The accuser's attorney, Lisa Helfend Meyer, said during closing arguments Thursday that she applauded her client for being able to "stand up to this monster and do the right thing."
After the accuser went to the hospital following the second encounter with Bauer in May, she was diagnosed with an acute head injury and assault by strangulation. A forensic nurse who examined the woman afterward testified this week she noticed the woman’s facial injuries, her "racoon eyes," bruised buttocks and a "significant amount of bruising" on the woman's genitals.
"It was frankly alarming," the nurse said of the latter injury during testimony this week.
The accuser's attorneys stated in a court filing last week that a “person cannot consent to being assaulted, particularly when they are unconscious.”
"Whatever happens, (the accuser) has revealed who Trevor Bauer really is for all the world to see," the woman's attorney said in court Thursday. "Hopefully, he will get help and not do this in the future under the guise of consensual rough sex."
Holley made her own statement outside the court afterward:
"We are grateful to the Los Angeles Superior Court for denying the request for a permanent restraining order and dissolving the temporary restraining order against Mr. Bauer today," Holley said. "While we have expected this outcome since the petition was filed in June, we appreciate the Court reviewing all relevant information and testimony to make this informed decision."
Helfend Meyer also issued a statement afterward:
“While our client is disappointed about the judge’s ruling, she is hopeful that Mr. Bauer will voluntarily seek the help he needs to make sure that no other woman in a dating relationship with him suffers the same traumatic fate that she did," the statement read.
"That is why she was willing to come forward and endure the victim-blaming from Mr. Bauer that she knew would inevitably result. Keeping not only herself but also other women safe from the hands of this troubled man has always been a priority -- and will continue to be so.”
Follow reporter Brent Schrotenboer @Schrotenboer. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org