Was Pete Rose — the banned-for-life baseball star — having sex with a series of under-16 girls during his spring training days?
That’s the allegation coming to life anew amid Rose’s lawsuit against the man who aired that accusation in 2015.
The accuser, John Dowd, told a Pennsylvania radio station: “Michael Bertolini told us, you know, he not only ran bets, but ran young girls down at spring training, ages 12 to 14. Isn’t that lovely? So that’s statutory rape every time you do that.”
Rose, the 76-year-old all-time-hits leader in Major League Baseball, struck back with a defamation suit, denying that account.
But ESPN reports that a woman has emerged backing up the story.
“Rose acknowledged he had a sexual relationship with the woman in court documents made public Monday, but he said his information and belief was that it started when she was 16. He was 34, married and the father of two children in 1975, when he says he began having sex with the woman, referred to in the filing as ‘Jane Doe.’ Rose said he does not recall how long the relationship lasted,” ESPN said.
The woman’s sworn statement alleges that she had sex with her for several years in the 1970s, beginning before she turned 16.
“Dowd can’t defend his own actions here — so he is distracting,” said Ray Genco, one of Rose’s attorneys. “It’s just Dowd attacking Pete instead of defending his own inexplicable accusations on the radio the day before Pete was to be honored in Cincinnati at the All-Star Game. His litigation strategy is to further drag Pete’s name through the mud.”
Genco called the woman’s story part of a witch hunt “and won’t be a successful litigation strategy.”
It was Dowd Dowd, as MLB’s special counsel, who decided Rose had bet on baseball when he was the manager of the Cincinnati Reds, leading to his lifetime ban from the game.