Editor’s note: This story contains graphic accounts of domestic violence and sexual assault. If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual assault or domestic violence, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
L.A. Superior Court judge Dianna Gould-Saltman ruled to dissolve the temporary restraining order filed against Trevor Bauer on Thursday, stating that the Dodgers pitcher is not a future threat to the woman who filed it.
This ruling does not exonerate the Dodgers’ pitcher, who invoked the Fifth Amendment instead of testifying Thursday. Gould-Saltman had determined before his doing so that any questions specific to the origin of the hearing could be incriminating.
He can still be charged criminally and suspended by MLB, and those investigations are ongoing. Hours after the ruling, MLB and the MLBPA reportedly agreed to extend Bauer's administrative leave through Aug. 27, per MLB Network's Jon Heyman.
The petitioner is a 27-year-old California woman who was seeking a five-year restraining order against Bauer after she said he choked her unconscious with her own hair and penetrated her anally without consent in April. A similar incident happened again in May, when the woman said Bauer choked her unconscious and was repeatedly punching her in the head when she regained consciousness. She ended up in the hospital with severe trauma.
Gould-Saltman said the "injuries as shown in the photographs are terrible," but the woman's injuries were confined to rough sex and not the result of anything to which the petitioner verbally objected, according to Beyond the Box Score's Sheryl Ring. The violent injuries resulted from her having rough sex with Bauer, the judge said, and because she will no longer be having sex with him, he is not a danger to her and, therefore, she does not need a restraining order against him.
However, this does not mean what Bauer did was not a crime. Whether the pitcher committed sexual assault against her was not the focus of the civil hearings this week. The Pasadena Police Department is investigating whether Bauer will receive criminal charges. This is also the focus of MLB's investigation. Through this lens, the hearings this week were more damning for him, because his attorney acknowledged that he was violent and rendered the woman unconscious. His attorney Shawn Holley said in her closing argument that the woman wanted to be treated violently, and that's what Bauer did.
"He wraps her hair around her neck, she goes unconscious," Holley said in her closing argument Thursday, per Ring.
Gould-Saltman's focus on consent related only to whether she consented to having rough sex with Bauer, which she did. "If she set limits and he exceeded them, this case would've been clear," the judge said. "But she set limits without considering all the consequences and [Bauer] did not exceed limits that the petitioner set ... they were consequences of the acts which she did consent to, including being choked."
But the woman did not consent to what happened after she lost consciousness, which is the focus of the criminal and MLB investigations. “What happened was not consensual,” the woman testified Wednesday, per the Los Angeles Times. “If they were going to put out their side of the story, it was fair to me to show that it was far beyond [consensual] choking."
In her closing arguments, Holley tried to paint Bauer as honest and morally superior to the woman, whose sexual history and experience with addiction were brought to the forefront during cross-examination earlier in the week. (The woman is now sober.) Bauer, Holley said Thursday, per Ring, "doesn't do drugs, he doesn't drink, he's kind, he's not judgmental."
However, this is irrelevant to the facts of the case, which Holley doesn’t dispute, that Bauer had sex with her after choking her unconscious. Bauer did not take the stand to answer questions under oath about the woman's allegations.
Bauer's counsel released the following statement from Holley and Jon Fetterolf to Sports Illustrated after the ruling.
"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. 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."
Bauer isn't in the clear yet. Beyond the ongoing criminal investigation, MLB is looking into whether he violated its domestic violence policy by committing sexual assault, which the league defines as a range of nonconsensual sex acts and behaviors. "Lack of consent is inferred when ... the victim is asleep, incapacitated, unconscious or legally incapable of consent," per the league's policy.
In a closing statement before the judge ruled, one of the woman's attorneys, Lisa Helfend Meyer, said, "Whatever happens, [the woman] has revealed who Trevor Bauer truly is for all the world to see. Hopefully he will get help and not do this in the future under the guise of rough sex."
More on Trevor Bauer:
• Woman Concludes Testimony in Trevor Bauer Hearing: ‘What Happened Was Not Consensual’
• California Woman Shares Her 'Brutal' Fear of Trevor Bauer During Day Two of Hearing
• Report: Ohio Woman Filed Previous Protection Order Against Trevor Bauer