Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer is suing a sports website and one of its former writers, alleging in federal court that he was defamed when they reported he had fractured a woman’s skull during a sexual encounter.
Bauer filed suit in Los Angeles on Tuesday, accusing The Athletic and former staff writer Molly Knight of “creating and spreading the false narrative” of the supposed attack, according to the complaint for defamation.
The alleged victim obtained a temporary restraining order against Bauer last June, but two months later, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge denied the woman’s request for a five-year extension of the order, saying evidence shows Bauer never went beyond boundaries the accuser herself had set for the sexual encounters.
In February, Los Angeles County prosecutors declined to file criminal charges against the Cy Young Award winner after investigating the woman’s allegations that he physically assaulted her during a pair of sexual encounters.
The Athletic reported last June that “there were signs of a basilar skull fracture,” citing a declaration by the woman, according to the lawsuit.
Bauer, 31, contends in the suit that CT scan results included in medical records attached to the woman’s declaration — which The Athletic possessed — “definitively concluded that she had `no acute fracture.”’
Athletic spokesperson Taylor Patterson said: “We’re confident in our reporting and plan to defend against the claim.”
Bauer previously filed a defamation lawsuit in New York against the sports news website Deadspin and its managing editor, claiming the outlet “knowingly published false information” regarding the assault allegations.
The complaint said that Deadspin had cited The Athletic in reporting that Bauer had fractured the skull of the woman, but The Athletic had corrected its story before Deadspin posted its report.
Bauer, 31, was placed on administrative leave by the Dodgers at the beginning of July, and he remained on leave through the season. He still faces possible discipline from Major League Baseball, and his future with the Dodgers remains cloudy.
Bauer signed a three-year contract with the Dodgers in February 2020, worth $102 million, including $40 million this season, reported to be the highest single-season salary in baseball history. Bauer won the National League Cy Young Award the previous season while with the Cincinnati Reds.