The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness
The Washington Post

Dodgers star Trevor Bauer, on leave amid assault probe, was subject of previous protection order

Major League Baseball is already investigating Trevor Bauer over a California woman’s assault claims. (Jeff Chiu/AP)

Trevor Bauer, the star Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher under investigation on allegations of sexual assault in California, was the subject of a temporary order of protection sought by a different woman last year, according to sealed court records reviewed by The Washington Post.

An Ohio woman sought the order in June 2020 after repeated threats from the then-Cincinnati Reds pitcher, according to her lawyer and records separately obtained by The Post. Photographs independently obtained by The Post also show bruises on the woman’s face and blood in her eyes, which her attorney said were caused by Bauer punching and choking her during sex without consent. Those allegations are similar to ones made by a woman in Los Angeles this summer when she applied for a temporary restraining order.

A police report obtained by The Post shows that in 2017, during an incident at Bauer’s apartment, the Ohio woman attempted to show officers photos of injuries to her eyes that she said were caused by Bauer, who played for the Cleveland Indians at the time. The police arrested her for underage drinking. (The woman was an adult but not of legal drinking age; The Post is not specifying her age in order to not disclose identifying details.) There is no indication in the report of what, if anything, police did to investigate her allegations.

The Post also obtained copies of messages Bauer allegedly sent the woman, which her lawyers said prompted her to seek an order of protection. “I don’t feel like spending time in jail for killing someone,” reads one. “And that’s what would happen if I saw you again.”

The Ohio woman’s allegations, which have not previously been reported, pose a new test for Major League Baseball, which is investigating Bauer over the California woman’s assault claims and is grappling with other allegations of mistreatment of women by players and coaches. Before Bauer was put on paid leave last month, he was one of baseball’s top stars, having won the Cy Young Award as the National League’s best pitcher in 2020, the same year the Ohio woman sought the order of protection. In February, he signed a three-year, $102 million deal with the Dodgers that includes $40 million in 2021, the highest single-season salary in MLB history.

In a statement to The Post, Bauer’s lawyer and agent, Jon Fetterolf, and agent Rachel Luba called the allegations of physical abuse against Bauer “categorically false.” They questioned the validity of the photographs, which they said were provided “years after the alleged incidents and with no corroboration,” and the threatening messages. They have called the California woman’s claims “baseless” and “defamatory.”

Bauer’s representatives called the Ohio woman’s request for a restraining order last year “bogus” and part of a “pattern of threatening behavior toward Mr. Bauer after numerous requests for her to cease contact.” They later clarified that they were not referring to “threats of bodily harm.”

Bauer and the woman had an “on-and-off, wholly consensual relationship” lasting around three years, his representatives said. After Bauer attempted to end the relationship, they said, she “proceeded to contact him hundreds of times” and attempted to visit Bauer in another city against his wishes. They said the woman’s request for an order of protection last year was part of an “extortion attempt” carried out by her and her then-lawyer.

After the publication of this story, Bauer and his representatives, in statements posted to Twitter, denied the woman’s allegations and denounced The Post’s reporting.

In an interview, Timothy Hess, the Cleveland lawyer who filed for the order of protection on the woman’s behalf, said she sought it because of threats Bauer sent her, including that he would disseminate a video of them having sex to a member of the woman’s family. Like the temporary restraining order obtained by Bauer’s accuser in California, the Ohio order is the result of an “ex parte” proceeding, temporarily granted by a Cuyahoga County judge without hearing from the opposing side.

The Ohio woman dismissed the protection order six weeks later, after Bauer’s attorneys threatened legal action, court records and legal correspondence show. She then drafted but never filed a civil suit against him, the records show.

Restraining order against Trevor Bauer details graphic assault allegations, woman’s injuries

After independently obtaining the records, photographs and messages, The Post contacted the woman, who declined to be interviewed. Her representatives then spoke to The Post, which does not name alleged victims of domestic violence unless they ask to be identified.

In early July, an MLB investigator sought records related to the 2017 incident, emails obtained by The Post show, but the related police report has been expunged. An MLB spokesperson said in a statement that “MLB takes these and all allegations very seriously” but declined to comment further, citing the ongoing investigation of Bauer.

The Ohio woman’s representatives said the woman is cooperating with MLB, but they declined to comment further, citing the ongoing investigation. They declined to comment on whether she had spoken to the Pasadena Police Department, which is investigating the California woman’s claims. The Dodgers declined to comment about whether they were aware of the records in Ohio.

The records shed light on the aggressive tactics Bauer’s lawyers and agents have used to rebut his accusers in Ohio and now California, where the accuser’s claims include that Bauer sexually assaulted and punched her after choking her unconscious during sex.

In a filing Tuesday in Los Angeles, Bauer’s attorneys claimed the California woman requested the temporary restraining order in an effort to win a financial settlement from the pitcher. Bauer’s attorneys previously made the same arguments about the Ohio woman, records show, saying in legal correspondence that her alleged demand for $3.4 million amounted to “nothing short of criminal extortion.”

Since making her claims, the California woman’s private messages with third parties have been detailed in news stories and public court filings. She is expected to testify in open court at a multiday hearing next week.

Her attorney, Bryan Freedman, has previously said “Bauer’s legal team feels the only way to defend himself is to trash and ruin his victim.” Freedman declined to be interviewed for this article.

MLB, in talks with Barstool, risks blowback in search for new fans

Joseph Darwal, the Ohio woman’s lawyer, said his client’s fear of publicizing her story has only increased as she has observed what has transpired in California.

“My client had no interest in coming forward about her experience as she feared the possible consequences of doing so, as seen in what is occurring in California,” Darwal said in a statement. “However, once The Post reached out for comment regarding documents they received from third parties, she was left with no other choice but to come forward and confirm the documents they received.”

A call to police

The Ohio woman’s allegations date from the summer of 2017, when police were called to Bauer’s Cleveland-area apartment and found the woman drunk, wearing only a shirt and underwear, according to the police report. The report was later expunged but was obtained by The Post.

Bauer was in the midst of a career-high 17-win season, and Cleveland led its division. Around 2 a.m. Aug. 6, Bauer called Westlake police to complain that a woman he called “a friend of his” had assaulted him and refused to leave, the report said.

Bauer told police that she showed up at his apartment drunk and “struck him several times,” according to the report. He showed the police “scratches on his right arm,” which he said were from the woman. Police found the woman vomiting in the bathroom, observing she was “obviously heavily intoxicated.”

The report says the officers twice asked Bauer if he wanted to press charges against the woman for assault, and he declined. The woman denied she struck Bauer, the report said.

The woman then “attempted to show me some pictures on her phone of her ‘red eyes’ which she claimed were caused by Bauer on a previous occasion,” wrote the police report’s author, Sgt. Thomas Cummings. Cummings did not again refer to those allegations, noting only that she “was observed to be extremely unsteady on her feet as she stood with me.”

From the archives: Baseball needs a culture change, or more women will be hurt

The Post separately obtained photos that Darwal, the woman’s attorney, said were the same images she attempted to show police. The photos show the corners of the woman’s eyes flooded with blood that reached her irises. Darwal said the woman later recalled telling the police that the injuries were from Bauer choking her. That choking occurred without consent during sex with Bauer, Darwal alleged.

Fetterolf and Luba denied that he ever injured the woman and told The Post that she made an “unwanted and unsolicited visit in which she was belligerent, heavily intoxicated and physically attacked [Bauer].”

Darwal disputed that the visit was unwanted, noted that the building has a locked lobby and said the woman spent “a considerable amount of time” there before police were called.

The police asked the woman — who was roughly 10 inches and 80 pounds smaller than Bauer, according to her size as listed on the report — “if she was going to cause any further disturbance if allowed to stay at the apartment,” according to the report. They wrote that she responded, “That depends on him.”

Because of the woman’s “extreme state of intoxication” and the fact that she was under 21, the police arrested her for underage drinking, the report shows, handcuffing her and booking her into jail.

Cummings declined to comment. It’s not clear how the underage drinking arrest was resolved; the case was expunged by Rocky River Municipal Court, according to Westlake Police Capt. Gerald Vogel. He told The Post he could not comment on the contents of an expunged police report.

A spokesperson for the Indians said the team didn’t have any knowledge of the incident in 2017 and declined further comment, citing the pending investigation.

‘Continuous threats’

Bauer’s alleged menacing behavior continued over the course of the following years, according to the Ohio woman’s attorney and former attorney. The Post separately obtained photos that appeared to show her face with dark bruises on her cheeks and around her left eye. She claims the injuries were from Bauer striking her without her consent during sex in 2018, Darwal said.

The Post could not independently confirm the date when or place where the photographs were taken. Bauer’s representatives questioned the validity of the photos, which they noted had been obtained by The Post long after the alleged incident.

MLB recreated ‘Field of Dreams’ for a night. But it can’t escape the sport’s tough realities.

The Post also obtained copies of messages allegedly from Bauer to the Ohio woman. In one undated Snapchat message, Bauer allegedly wrote: “Like the only reason I’d ever consider seeing you again is to choke you unconscious punch you in the face shove my first up your a-- skull f--- you and kick you out naked. And obviously I would never do something like that to anyone. So cant even enjoy the one thing I sometimes enjoyed with you.”

Fetterolf and Luba said they “strongly call into question the validity” of the Snapchat messages, to which they said Bauer no longer has access.

But in correspondence with the woman’s lawyer last year, obtained by The Post, Fetterolf did not challenge the authenticity of the same Snapchat message. Instead, he pointed to the woman’s response to the message: “Kind of hot I bother you that much aw.” Fetterolf, who became Bauer’s agent and lawyer following the 2019 season, called the response evidence that Bauer’s message “caused her no distress at all.”

Bauer’s representatives said they also questioned the authenticity of the text message in which he allegedly wrote that he didn’t “feel like spending time in jail for killing someone.” They had “not had the opportunity to authenticate them, nor have we had a chance to review them,” they said. A copy of that message shows it was sent from a phone number known to be registered to Bauer.

On June 10, 2020, a year after Bauer was traded from Cleveland to Cincinnati, the Ohio woman filed for a temporary civil stalking protection order against Bauer, according to sealed court records obtained by The Post. The records do not specify any allegations against him.

In seeking the order, Bauer’s representatives said, the Ohio woman was “perpetrating a fraud on the court in Ohio.” In legal correspondence obtained by The Post, Fetterolf said the woman “omitted from her report to the court that she had not seen Mr. Bauer in person for approximately a year.” The letter also details what Fetterolf claims was a “pattern of threats” and “disturbing conduct” that escalated after Bauer attempted to end the relationship.

Darwal, the Ohio woman’s lawyer, said she sought the restraining order in part “to protect [herself] against his continued vile threats against her body as well as to prevent him from disseminating photographs and videos of her, which he also threatened on numerous occasions.”

Those threats included him suggesting he would send a video of them having sex to one of her family members, said Hess, the woman’s former attorney. The Post obtained a copy of that text message, in which Bauer allegedly wrote, “I’d really hate for him to see a video of you getting f---ed.”

“Why are you threatening me right now?” the woman responded, according to the copy obtained by The Post. Bauer wrote: “Haha I’m just joking with relax… That’s completely off-limits… But… assuming it wasn’t you and it was a completely different situation, gotta admit, that would be funny.”

Fetterolf said he could not respond to questions about that message without reviewing the copy obtained by The Post, which The Post declined to share.

The order set off a heated back-and-forth between the Ohio woman’s lawyers and Bauer’s. A month after the order of protection was issued, Hess, her lawyer at the time, sent an email to Roger Synenberg, a prominent Cleveland attorney hired by Bauer.

Hess wrote that his client “has grown increasingly agitated about the entire situation and stated to me that she does not feel that it would be fair to remain silent about what happened over the course of their relationship.” He then referred to what he described as a prior request from Synenberg for “an actual demand amount” and said his client “has provided the number of 3.4 million dollars.”

The email was forwarded to Fetterolf, who responded by saying her naming a dollar amount “takes her conduct from the realm of potential civil liability and into the realm of extortion and blackmail.”

“Your client is attempting to use the process of requesting a civil protection order — designed to help individuals who are legitimately in fear of being stalked or approached — for a wholly improper purpose: to make public her private relationship with Trevor Bauer,” Fetterolf wrote.

But emails obtained by The Post show it was Bauer’s Cleveland lawyer, Synenberg, who first mentioned the possibility of a financial settlement, and he asked Hess to put a dollar amount in writing. “I only mentioned money as a possible motive,” Synenberg told The Post in an email. “I did not offer any, assured Mr. Hess I had no authority to offer any as well as making it clear that Mr. Bauer had never even suggested it.”

Hess, in an interview, insisted it was never about money. “She was just really angry with the fact that they thought they could buy her off, so she gave a pretty inflated number,” Hess said.

A hearing on the order, in which the Ohio woman’s allegations would have been detailed and Bauer could have provided a defense, was postponed, according to court records reviewed by The Post. On the first day of the pandemic-shortened 2020 baseball season, July 23, the woman voluntarily dismissed her petition, records show.

Records concerning the protection proceedings are not publicly available. When given the case number over the phone, an employee of the Cuyahoga County Clerk of Courts relayed the first name of the woman but then said: “The record is sealed. I can’t tell you anything.” The Reds, Bauer’s team at the time, did not respond to a request for comment about whether the team was aware of the temporary order of protection.

After the woman dismissed the petition, her lawyer sent Bauer’s attorney a draft complaint containing allegations that would be in a potential civil suit, including references to the pitcher’s alleged threats, the legal correspondence shows. Fetterolf responded by again threatening legal action against her for “a potential abuse of the court system” and wrote “there is no circumstance where Mr. Bauer will ever pay [the woman] money.”

By then, Bauer was a month into his Cy Young-winning season with the Reds. The woman did not file suit against Bauer.

“What started out as our client’s attempt to protect herself — first by filing a protective order — turned into months of additional fear, stress and continuous threats,” Darwal and Kendra Barkoff Lamy, a spokeswoman for the woman, said in a statement. “Ultimately, our client made the decision that moving forward with any legal action was not worth the potential public shaming and baseless lawsuits threatened by Bauer’s team. She never wanted any of this public.”

Chelsea Janes contributed to this report, which has been updated.

Correction: A previous version of this story said the Ohio woman’s representatives declined to comment on whether she had spoken to MLB. Her representatives told The Post the woman has assisted MLB but declined to comment further, citing the ongoing investigation.