A Los Angeles judge on Thursday dissolved 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 assaulting her during sex to have a more permanent one issued against him.
Bauer, 30, has been under investigation by the Pasadena Police Department since the woman, 27, accused him of assaulting her in Pasadena, Calif., in May. In late June, the woman sought a temporary restraining order against him, which was granted without Bauer present.
This week, though, Bauer’s lawyers argued on his behalf during a four-day hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court on whether the restraining order should be dismissed or made more permanent (up to five years in California).
Judge Dianna Gould-Saltman ruled that Bauer did not pose a threat to the woman.
In her filings and testimony, the woman said that she had initiated contact with Bauer and that what had begun as a consensual relationship in April, with some agreed-upon rough sex, led to sexual acts that were not consensual. She also said she had been choked with her hair until she lost consciousness. She said that she had returned to Bauer’s house in Pasadena in May and had established a safe word that would signal her desire to stop but that she was again choked until she lost consciousness and was punched.
Gould-Saltman said the injuries shown in photographs were “terrible.” But the judge added later: “If she set limits and he exceeded them, this case would have been clear. But she set limits without considering all the consequences, and respondent did not exceed limits that the petitioner set.”
Bauer’s legal team focused on the woman’s messages to Bauer — at one point, she asked him to cause her pain — communications that Gould-Saltman said had not been in the woman’s protective order request and thus made it “materially misleading.”
Despite the ruling, Bauer remains under investigation by the Pasadena police and by Major League Baseball. Bauer has not been arrested or charged with a crime. Lt. Carolyn Gordon, a spokeswoman for the Pasadena Police Department, declined to comment on Thursday.
M.L.B. placed Bauer on paid administrative leave on July 2. With the consent of the players’ union, his initial seven-day leave has been extended several times, with the latest extension coming hours after Thursday’s hearing. Bauer’s current leave had been set to expire on Friday but was pushed to Aug. 27, a league official said.
“Allegations made against Trevor Bauer continue to be investigated by M.L.B.’s Department of Investigations under our Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy,” an M.L.B. spokesman said in a statement on Thursday. “We will comment further at the appropriate time.”
Since M.L.B. and the players’ union enacted a domestic violence policy in 2015, 13 players have been suspended, with bans ranging from 15 to 162 games following investigations. While M.L.B. has often let the criminal process play out before meting out its own punishment, a conviction or arrest isn’t required for a suspension. For example, Yankees pitcher Domingo German was suspended for 81 games in 2020 — with no police involvement — because the league had evidence of his abuse of his partner and he cooperated with its investigation.
M.L.B.’s investigation into Bauer encompasses an incident that came to light last week in a Washington Post report that 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, which relied on sealed court records 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 narrative” and accused the woman of attempting extortion.
During the hearing in Los Angeles, Bauer did not testify. After the ruling, he stood outside the courthouse next to his lawyers, Jon Fetterolf and Shawn Holley, as they delivered brief remarks.
“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 in a statement.
The woman’s lawyer, Lisa Helfend Meyer, said in a statement that she was disappointed in the judge’s ruling but was hopeful that Bauer would “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.”
Meyer’s statement continued: “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.”
Paul Takakjian, a criminal defense lawyer 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 maybe good news” for Bauer in his criminal investigation “because of the thoroughness with which the accuser was discredited in the judge’s eyes.”
The hearing on the restraining order wasn’t a criminal proceeding, Takakjian said, “but it was treated almost as if it were one in the sense that most restraining order hearings take 15 or 20 minutes.”
For a restraining order, Takakjian said, the judge needed clear and convincing evidence that Bauer was an ongoing threat to the woman. But the district attorney’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 E.R.A. for the Dodgers. He has not pitched since June 28.
Kurt Streeter contributed reporting