The Trevor Bauer Sex Assault Conclusion Parallels Russell Brand Allegations; Lessons Need to be Learned

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

An end has been reached in the long-simmering saga of Major League pitcher Trevor Bauer and allegations of sexual assault that were brought against him by a San Diego woman, Lindsey Hill, in 2021. The Cy Young Award winner had barely started his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers when the accusations essentially took him fully out of the game. Things escalated to the point that both he and the woman, Lindsey Hill, had competing court cases filed against each other, but those now have come to a conclusion. Bauer’s attorney announced both parties “settled all outstanding litigation,” and Bauer has not made any financial payment to resolve the legal matter.

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While the story has been pretty big for MLB watchers, in case you're not familiar with what happened, Jim Thompson's reported the basics:

On June 28, 2021, Bauer pitched his last game for the Dodgers. A San Diego woman requested a restraining order. She claimed that two sexual trysts with Bauer exceeded her rough sex “limits.”

(Those trysts took place a month of part, which is the start of needing to examine things in a sober fashion.)

Bauer received a strong dose of injustice in a manner outside of the courtroom. While it appears the authorities and the courts acted in a fair and rational fashion, in both the court of public opinion and by Major League Baseball Bauer has been railroaded by a biased set of thinking. It calls to mind the current controversy that has swirled around public figure Russell Brand in recent weeks. I wrote a series on the charges surrounding Brand, concerning the actions of the media and the reactions by other entities, and the imbalanced approach to his charges has now taken on more significance.

The Bauer case serves as both a precursor to the Brand episode and as an object lesson as the similarities are extensive.


Bauer was quickly suspended by the league, pending a hearing. In the interim, a judge denied Hill’s request for a temporary restraining order, and then a court later denied her petition for a permanent restraining order. The Pasadena Police conducted a three-month investigation into the matter; no charges were ever brought forward, and Trevor has never been arrested. Despite these signs of a weak case against the pitcher, MLB handed Bauer the most strident punishment, a two-year suspension amounting to 324 games.

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An outside arbitrator was brought in much later and concluded that a lesser punishment be instituted against Bauer of 194 games and that he be reinstituted as active in the league. This led to the Los Angeles Dodgers promptly releasing Bauer immediately. With no other offers forthcoming Bauer had to resort to  playing in the Japanese League. 

The problems that have since been exposed in these allegations against Trevor Bauer are rather disturbing on a number of fronts. ESPN, in reporting on the resolution, was willing to allude that Bauer had proof of Hill plotting this whole affair, held back from detailing what that evidence was. The player, with this resolution behind him, released a video where he explains how he was not having to defend himself from charges without much validity, but he and his legal team had to fight to obtain evidence Hill’s team worked to keep hidden.

Bauer has since obtained evidence showing that Hill had actually recorded herself the night she had allegedly been assaulted and injured, and she bore no signs of the physical damages. More damning is a series of text messages she made with acquaintances in which she announced her premeditated intentions of targeting Bauer, in this exact fashion, for the purpose of extorting money from him. The most revelatory detail is her making these plans ahead of the time that she and the pitcher had actually met.

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The press has had its share of disturbing coverage of this case. It was in August of 2021 when ESPN was covering the court case, and the outlet -- that holds back on the disqualifying evidence offered by Trevor today -- was sure to include the graphic testimony from Hill concerning the alleged attack on her. There is this rather conflicting passage, where she appears to describe in detail what Bauer was alleged to have done, while she was blacked out. "Bauer punched her closed-fisted in the face, body, and near her vagina after being choked unconscious on May 16." While this can possibly be attributed to an outlet leaning one way on a story, a larger problem was shown from another outlet.

The Athletic (now owned by The New York Times), when reporting on the assault trial against Bauer, detailed the injuries incurred by Ms. Hill. Among those injuries reported by Brittany Ghiroli and Katie Strang, she was said to have suffered a “basilar skull fracture.” Reporter Molly Knight, also from The Athletic, posted tweets making this same declaration. The curiosity of this allegation is that nowhere in the medical reports was this injury ever listed - and The Athletic had those records. The outlet had to have been aware that the records didn't mention a skull fracture, and if not, it was displaying some severe journalistic malpractice.

Making this all the more pernicious is that other outlets repeated this fractured skull claim, based on The Athletic's reporting. Deadspin had also reported on Hill suffering skull fractures. In another report published at the Washington Post in March of 2022, Hill’s then-lawyer spoke to the paper and savaged Bauer. 

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The piece concerned Trevor Bauer not facing any charges, but the lawyer, Fred Thiagarajah, was freed up to basically condemn Bauer in print. 

“It’s not a declaration of innocence; it’s a declaration of ‘I don’t have enough evidence to prove this beyond a reasonable doubt.’ And there’s no doubt that Mr. Bauer just brutalized [the woman].” Thiagarajah noted that during the restraining order hearing last summer, the pitcher declined to take the stand. “It’s easy to deny these things occurred when you’re not going to have a chance to be cross-examined about it,” Thiagarajah said. “The evidence is overwhelming that these things occurred. ... That was established to 100 percent certainty. The issue was whether or not she consented to the abuse.”

Now that the matter has been all but cleared, Bauer is left to string out what is left of his career. At 32 years of age, he probably has a few seasons left to make of it what he can. Pitching once again in the majors is a long shot, after years out of the league. The amount of games he had to sit out during the lengthy investigation period, and his suspension, is estimated to have cost him tens of millions of dollars in lost salary. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred gave Bauer’s career the death sentence, over an incident that never led to charges being filed, and a number of court cases against him that were summarily tossed. 

Looking at what he went through and what Russell Brand is facing, the amount of similarities cannot be denied:

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  • Accusations coming from a (then) anonymous source.

  • Allegations concerning someone in a consensual relationship.

  • Victims' visits with authorities led to no charges being pressed.

  • Media coverage approaches things from a biased standpoint.

  • Reprisals that come from other sources before any due process takes place.

  • Professional punishments are levied against the accused without any conviction taking place.

There is a dangerous predisposition in our society to have certain members becoming tried in the court of public opinion based on nothing more than initial charges being alleged. The women are instantly granted the status of unimpeachable sources, their identities are shielded, and the accusations are broadcast and broadened as the accused are expected to suffer their allegedly deserved character assassination and professional immolation.


This is not to say that the charges should not be taken seriously, but if these crimes are to be held as severe and important then the treatment of those involved should be treated in kind. Why are the accusers allowed anonymity, but not those being accused? Why are those who ultimately are shown to have delivered baseless or false accusations never held to the same glaring coverage? 

If we are to take these things as serious crimes then they need to be covered in a serious fashion. The press instead behaves like rabid hyenas in many of these instances, sliming the individuals and holding them up to be punished in effigy in public. When a case like Bauer’s concludes with no criminal result how is his character ever rectified after years of media malpractice in slandering his name? 

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Russell Brand may be facing the same kind of challenge. He also may very well be guilty; the point is we do not know at this stage. The media, meanwhile, behaves as if they do know, and they prosecute and condemn in print. That same media was convinced, since 2021, that Trevor Bauer was guilty.

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