5:11 pm: As expected, Bauer’s administrative leave has been extended through August 27, per various reporters (including Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times).
3:15 pm: Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dianna Gould-Saltman issued a ruling today denying a long-term restraining order to the woman who has accused Trevor Bauer of sexual assault, per Steve Henson of the Los Angeles Times. The ruling brings to a close the civil hearing that has been ongoing throughout the current week.
Bauer did not testify at this week’s hearing, instead invoking his fifth amendment rights. He’s still the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation and of an investigation under Major League Baseball’s joint domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy. Bauer is currently on paid administrative leave, which is set to expire tomorrow. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets that with criminal and MLB investigations still ongoing, that leave will likely once again be extended by mutual agreement between MLB and the Players Association.
There are several key points to be emphasized with regard to where things stand at present. As previously noted, Bauer is still the subject of multiple investigations. Today’s ruling was neither a declaration of Bauer’s innocence nor guilt with regard to the woman’s allegations. Rather, it was a ruling from the court that Bauer does not pose a continued threat to the alleged victim. Similarly, the determination that the accuser does not require long-term protection against Bauer is not legally reflective of his guilt or innocence; the alleged victim and the district attorney can still bring forth charges pursuant to Bauer’s purported actions.
Just as the absence of a restraining order does not preclude criminal charges, the ruling also does not preclude a suspension from commissioner Rob Manfred and Major League Baseball. The league’s sexual assault policy gives Manfred the power to implement a suspension even in the absence of criminal charges, as we’ve seen on numerous occasions where domestic violence charges were dropped by the alleged victims. It’s also unclear whether newly surfaced allegations from a woman in Ohio that date back to last summer will be factored into the league’s decision on any punitive measures against Bauer.
While today’s ruling represents a notable step in the process, it does not bring about anything in the way of resolution for Bauer or the Dodgers. The pitcher’s long-term outlook remains unclear, and the league could well wait until the criminal investigation (and any subsequent charges, if pressed) is resolved before determining whether to levy its own suspension.