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No Charges Set for Strawberry : Jurisprudence: The Dodger outfielder's girlfriend had engaged in abusive behavior before being struck, the district attorney's office says.

September 21, 1993|MARYANN HUDSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Criminal charges will not be filed against Dodger Darryl Strawberry for alleged physical abuse of his girlfriend, the L.A. County District Attorney's office said Monday.

Lydia Bodin, the deputy in charge of the office's Domestic Violence Unit, concluded that criminal charges were not warranted against Strawberry, who was arrested Sept. 4 after allegedly striking his girlfriend, Charisse Simons, causing a one-inch cut above her right eye.

Bodin said that the investigation revealed that Simons, who did not press charges, had "engaged in verbal and physical assaultive behavior toward Strawberry" earlier in the day on Sept. 3 and during that evening. The incident occurred at 5:45 a.m. Sept. 4.

"Just prior to the incident in which Simons was struck, Strawberry was lying down when Simons repeatedly poked him with a baseball bat in an area of his back where he had previously had surgery," the district attorney's office said in a statement. "Strawberry jumped up, grabbed the bat and struck Simons with his hand, one time," it said.

The Dodgers, who had indicated they would sever ties with the outfielder if he was convicted of a felony in connection with the incident, said they will not tolerate any more off-the-field conduct that does not reflect well on Strawberry or the ballclub. Strawberry was unavailable for comment.

"I met with Darryl on Friday before he went to Arizona," said Fred Claire, Dodger executive vice president. "I can't predict what will happen in the future, but at the same time this club is not looking the other way. Our goals and Darryl's are not any different.

"I think he fully understands that we should be looking toward the same objective. We want Darryl to become a productive player on the field and, off the field, we want him to stay away from conduct that is not pleasant for anybody."

The incident was the latest of three controversies involving Strawberry. The others are still unresolved. Published reports have said that he is the focus of a grand jury investigation into possible tax fraud regarding unclaimed income from baseball card shows by several players. And in August, a couple, allegedly homeless, filed suit against Strawberry, claiming that he paid for a motel room for them and then got into an altercation with the couple, allegedly striking the man.

The Dodgers reacted strongly when Strawberry was arrested Sept. 4, indicating that the club would try to void the remaining two years of his five-year, $20.25-million contract pending the outcome of the judicial process. The Dodgers still owe Strawberry $8 million.

They immediately distanced themselves from Strawberry, who, at Claire's request, continued his rehabilitation program at a clinic instead of at Dodger Stadium with the team. Then on Saturday, Strawberry was sent to the Arizona Instructional League.

Strawberry, whose back problem began in May of 1992, struggled through last season before having surgery last September. In 100 at-bats in 32 games this season, he batted .140 with five home runs.

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