A Los Angeles judge on Thursday lifted a temporary restraining order against Trevor Bauer, a star pitcher for the Dodgers, and rejected a request by a woman who had accused him of sexual assault to issue a more permanent ban against him.
Bauer, 30, is under investigation by the Pasadena Police Department since the woman, 27, accused him of assaulting her in Pasadena, California, in May. At the end of June, the woman requested a temporary restraining order against him, which was granted without Bauer present.
This week, however, Bauer’s lawyers argued on his behalf at a four-day hearing in the Los Angeles Superior Court about whether to overturn the restraining order or make it more permanent (up to five years in California).
Judge Dianna Gould-Saltman ruled that Bauer posed no threat to the woman.
In her records and testimony, the woman said she contacted Bauer and that what had started in April as a consensual relationship, involving some rough sex arranged, led to non-consensual sexual acts. She also said that her hair was suffocated until she lost consciousness. She said she returned to Bauer’s Pasadena home in May and found a safe word that would indicate she wanted to quit, but was again asphyxiated until she lost consciousness and was beaten.
Gould-Saltman said the injuries in the photos were “terrible.” But the judge later added: “If she had set boundaries and he exceeded them, this case would have been clear. But it set limits without considering all the consequences, and the defendant did not exceed the limits set by the applicant.”
Bauer’s legal team focused on the woman’s messages to Bauer — at one point she asked him to hurt her — communications that Gould-Saltman said were not included in the woman’s protective order and so ” materially misleading’.
Despite the ruling, Bauer remains under investigation by the Pasadena Police Department and Major League Baseball. Bauer has not been arrested or charged with any crime. Lieutenant Carolyn Gordon, a spokeswoman for the Pasadena Police Department, declined to comment Thursday.
MLB placed Bauer on paid administrative leave on July 2. With the agreement of the players’ union, his initial seven-day leave has been extended several times, with the latest extension just hours after Thursday’s hearing. Bauer’s current furlough was set to expire on Friday, but was rescheduled for Aug. 27, a league official said.
“Allegations against Trevor Bauer are still under investigation by MLB’s Department of Investigations as part of our joint policy on domestic violence, sexual violence and child abuse,” an MLB spokesperson said in a statement on Thursday. “We will respond further in due course.”
Since MLB and the players’ union introduced a domestic violence policy in 2015, 13 players have been suspended, with a ban from 15 to 162 games after investigation. While MLB has often let the criminal trial play out before handing out its own sentence, a conviction or arrest is not required for a suspension. For example, Yankees pitcher Domingo German was banned from 81 games in 2020 – without police intervention – because the league had evidence of his abuse of his partner and he cooperated with the investigation.
MLB’s investigation into Bauer includes an incident that came to light last week in a Washington Post report that described how an Ohio woman filed for a protective warrant against him last year after accusing him of beating and choking her without consent during sex. According to the report, which was based on sealed court files and other documents, the woman dropped the request six weeks after filing it and after Bauer’s lawyers threatened legal action. Bauer called the report “a false story” and accused the woman of extortion.
Bauer did not testify at the Los Angeles hearing. After the verdict, he stood outside the courthouse next to his attorneys, Jon Fetterolf and Shawn Holley, as they made brief remarks.
“We are grateful to the Los Angeles Superior Court for rejecting the request for a permanent restraining order and for lifting the temporary restraining order against Mr. Bauer today,” Holley said in a statement.
The woman’s attorney Lisa Helfend Meyer said in a statement she was disappointed with the judge’s ruling but hoped Bauer would “voluntarily seek the help he needs to ensure that no other woman in a dating with him the same traumatic fate that she did.”
Meyer’s statement continued: “Therefore, she was willing to come forward and endure the victim Mr Bauer blamed, which she knew would inevitably result. Protecting not only himself, but also other women from the hands of this troubled man has always been – and will continue to be – a priority.”
Paul Takakjian, a criminal defense attorney who is not involved in Bauer’s case but previously served as a Los Angeles County deputy district attorney, said he saw Thursday’s ruling as “a harbinger of perhaps good news” for Bauer in his criminal investigation “because of the thoroughness with which the prosecution was discredited in the eyes of the judge.”
The restraining order hearing was not a criminal proceeding, Takakjian said, “but it was treated almost as if it were one in the sense that most restraining orders last 15 or 20 minutes.”
For a restraining order, Takakjian said, the judge needed clear and convincing evidence that Bauer posed an ongoing threat to the woman. But the prosecutor’s office, he said, will need “a sufficient level of evidence beyond a reasonable doubt” to convince a jury.
Bauer, who won the National League Cy Young Award in 2020, signed a free-agent deal with the Dodgers for three years and a guaranteed $102 million during the past off-season. He has an 8-5 record and a 2.59 ERA for the Dodgers. He hasn’t pitched since June 28.
Kurt Streeter contributed to reporting