Report: When a Dodgers minor leaguer was accused of sexual assault, the team kept it quiet

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A <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/teams/lad" data-ylk="slk:Dodgers">Dodgers</a> minor leaguer was accused of sexual assault in 2015, and the organization kept it quiet. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
A Dodgers minor leaguer was accused of sexual assault in 2015, and the organization kept it quiet. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)

The Daily Beast reported on Thursday morning that an unnamed Los Angeles Dodgers prospect sexually assaulted a hotel maid in 2015, and that the Dodgers never informed Major League Baseball about the incident. The team reportedly tried to handle the incident internally, and ended up releasing the player. He then went on to play for another team, having received no official punishment.

Unnamed Dodgers minor leaguer sexually assaulted a maid

According to The Daily Beast, the player spent weeks harassing a hotel maid in Glendale, Arizona, repeatedly asking her out on dates and making inappropriate comments. The Dodgers were only informed of the incident when the hotel manager wrote an email to the team.

“I guess for a few weeks now [the player] has been making remarks and asking her to go out with him,” the manager wrote in an email to a team official that was obtained by The Daily Beast. “She keeps telling him that she has a boyfriend and is not interested but he still keeps making comments.”

The ballplayer, the manager wrote, would not take no for an answer.

“On Sunday things elevated where she was cleaning another room and he came up behind her and grabbed her,” the email continued. “She pushed him back and he came back and grabbed her yet again. She told him that she wasn’t interested and that he needed to leave and he did.”

The Daily Beast did not identify the player by name because he was never formally charged with a crime.

The Dodgers never told MLB about the incident

The Dodgers were reportedly informed of the incident by the hotel’s manager, who wrote an email to the team detailing what happened. The maid didn’t want to press charges or get the police involved, but it appears that the hotel manager wanted to make sure the Dodgers knew about what happened.

From there, the Dodgers reportedly handled the incident internally, and conducted an investigation, speaking with both the player and the victim. The Daily Beast reviewed emails about the incident obtained from a team employee, and it seems that no one in the organization questioned or doubted the maid’s story. Gabe Kapler, who is currently managing the Philadelphia Phillies but was the Dodgers director of player development at the time, wrote in an email that “his report made me feel embarrassed for our organization. I assured him that we’d address the situation swiftly and that this would not be an issue going forward.”

The initial suggestion was to send the player back home Latin America, but the Dodgers international scouting director didn’t think that was enough “punishment.” He was instead assigned to the Dominican Republic developmental league so he could “learn more about what we stand for as an organization in an environment more suitable to his maturity level and understanding of American culture.” 

That appears to be the only punishment. The Dodgers released the player several months later, and then he signed with another team before being released again. It’s not clear if the other team was aware of the incident in Arizona.

Did the Dodgers have a responsibility to do more?

It’s unclear what the Dodgers’ responsibility was in this situation. MLB’s joint domestic violence policy doesn’t outline whether a team is required to report incidents of domestic violence or sexual assault to MLB, which seems problematic. When The Daily Beast asked MLB whether teams are required to report minor league incidents to MLB, they declined to answer and said “This was handled as an internal matter by the Dodgers and we consider the matter closed.”

Plus, the policy only covers major leaguers, and players who are on their team’s 40-man roster. Here’s the specific language from the original press release announcing the policy:

As part of the agreement, the Commissioner’s Office will implement additional policies to cover Minor League players, as well as everyone employed by a Major League or Minor League club, and the Commissioner’s Office, and the MLBPA will also implement an all-encompassing domestic abuse policy for its staff.

This policy was implemented in August 2015, and since then there doesn’t seem to be any information regarding domestic violence and sexual assault policies for minor leaguers who are not on their team’s 40-man roster. So not only is it unclear if the Dodgers were obligated to tell MLB about the incident, there appear to be no policies in place outlining the steps that need to be taken when a minor leaguer is accused of domestic violence or sexual assault.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on Twitter at @lizroscher.

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