A judge in Michigan dismissed third-degree sexual assault charges Thursday against Detroit Tigers pitcher Evan Reed, saying Reed's accuser wasn't "a very credible witness."
Reed, 28, had faced up to 15 years in prison after a 45-year-old woman accused him of raping her while she was physically and/or mentally incapacitated in a hotel room at the Motor City Casino in Detroit after they met at a suburban bar earlier the same night in March.
"I'm so elated," Reed told reporters outside of the courtroom. "This nightmare has went on way longer than it should have, as it is. I can finally concentrate on my career again. I can have my life back. The stress it's put on me and my family... I still wonder how I ever got charged, but all I can do is praise everyone that helped. He made a tough decision in there. Everyone that's stood by me... I'm just extremely happy."
The Wayne County prosecutor's office said no decision has been made regarding an appeal.
George Hunter of the Detroit News live-tweeted the hearing, which included disturbing and graphic testimony from Reed's accuser, an account that didn't sway the judge, Kenneth King.
He said prosecutors failed to meet the burden of probable cause on accusations that Reed forced or coerced her into two sexual acts while she was physically or mentally incapacitated.
"The testimony was that the defendant sort of took her by surprise on both occasions," said King. "Is there a question of credibility? I mean, perhaps. I don’t believe the alleged victim when she says that she didn’t know who these people were that she was with."
Perhaps as part of a defense against a civil suit — like one filed against Reds pitcher Alfredo Simon in another sexual assault case — Reed's lawyers took the unusual step of distributing documents to the press that reportedly include damaging allegations against Reed's accuser.
From the Detroit Free Press:
Reed’s attorneys, Ben Gonek and David Gorcyca, passed out packets to the media that appear to be filed by the woman's ex-husband in a 2008 divorce case, including allegations that attack her character.
The woman said during testimony that her ex-husband was banging on her door the day after the alleged incident with Reed. The ex-husband contacted Detroit police and arranged for her first meeting with them to report the alleged crime, she said.
In testimony, Reed's accuser told a revolting but not uncommon-sounding story about what she remembers happening the morning of March 30 after she awoke. Be warned — this includes graphic language:
She said she was in bed with Reed, both of them nude, and the sheets were stained.
“Everything was spinning, my head was hurting,” she said, adding that she had bruises on her arms, knees, ankles and more. “I remember getting up and kind of holding on to the wall and going into the bathroom.”
Then she remembers being in the shower, where she says Reed started having sex with her. She told him to stop, and he stopped, she said.
Asked why she didn't physically resist, she said, “I didn't even have the strength. I was like a rag doll.”
Reed has said that the sex was consensual, and implied that his accuser is after money:
"It's pretty plain... People want to take stuff from you sometimes," Reed said.
"Her lies caught up with her."
A civil trial requires a lower burden of proof for the plaintiff, but that doesn't mean the process would be easier for her to undertake. Because the alleged crime is sexual assault, Reed's accuser has had the right to remain anonymous, but that might change in a civil setting.
Currently assigned to the Tigers' Class AAA team in the minors, Reed was with the big league club at the start of the season when the allegations were made. He compiled a 4.88 ERA with the Tigers, pitching out of relief, over 27 2/3 innings. Reed has pitched with the Toledo Mud Hens since late June. He hopes to re-join the Tigers soon.
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