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Washburn Won't Face Charges

Jurisprudence: Orange County district attorney, citing lack of evidence, declines to file sexual assault charges.

September 12, 2002|BILL SHAIKIN and CHRISTINE HANLEY | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

The Orange County district attorney Wednesday declined to file sexual assault charges against Angel pitcher Jarrod Washburn, closing the matter within hours of receiving the case from Anaheim police investigators.

"We have thoroughly reviewed the case, and we are rejecting the case based on a lack of sufficient evidence at this time," Deputy Dist. Atty. Randy Payne said.

Washburn had been under investigation for 10 days. He left the team to be with his family Tuesday, when Anaheim police publicly confirmed the investigation of the allegations, and rejoined the team Wednesday.

"I'm just happy I've been cleared and that this is all done with," Washburn said.

Washburn never was interviewed by police, said Edward Munoz, an attorney who assisted Washburn's agent, Scott Boras, during the investigation. Munoz said an assortment of credibility issues surfaced soon after the young woman in question made her accusation to police Sept. 1, after she allegedly met with Washburn at Edison Field.

Munoz said that security personnel working that night had seen her at the stadium but could not corroborate elements of her story to investigators, including that she had yelled for help. Munoz also said the young woman lied to Washburn about her age.

"Why would a young fan lie about their age, unless you were trying to appear older or younger for a particular goal?" Munoz said. "That should be a red flag."

Munoz said he was baffled and disappointed that police chose to confirm the investigation without acknowledging that there were serious discrepancies in the case, exposing Washburn to false accusations that were broadcast across the country.

"I think that was very unfair," Munoz said.

Washburn declined to discuss details of the investigation but said it had taken its toll on him.

"I haven't slept real well. I haven't eaten real well," he said. "I'm sure I'll eat a little better and sleep a little better tonight."

Boras said he was pleased that the district attorney had cleared Washburn so soon after the allegations became public but said that "a stigma is attached" nonetheless. Washburn, popular with fans and teammates, said he would not stop signing autographs and talking with fans. He hopes he will be treated fairly when he makes his next start Friday at Edison Field.

"I would hope the fans can see this for what it was," he said. "This was an accusation. It was determined not to have any merit."

Washburn, 28, is married with one son. He is the ace of the Angel pitching staff and ranks among league leaders with a 17-5 record and 3.32 earned-run average.

"We know one of our brothers is going through a rough time," closer Troy Percival said. "Beyond that, we're all focused on one thing. I'm sure he's still focused on winning ballgames. Unfortunately, he got a little sidetracked. But he'll be back out here competing with us shortly."

Second baseman Adam Kennedy said he was less worried about Washburn as a pitcher than as a husband and father.

"Nobody needs that kind of stuff coming into their house," Kennedy said. "We were behind him all the way."

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