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Gabe Kapler Releases Statement Regarding Handling of Assault Allegation in 2015

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 2, 2019

Philadelphia Phillies manager Gabe Kapler gestures in the dugout in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds, Sunday, July 29, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
John Minchillo/Associated Press

Philadelphia Phillies manager Gabe Kapler released a statement Saturday regarding his involvement in not reporting an assault allegation against women who were in the company of Los Angeles Dodgers minor league players while he was serving as the Dodgers' player development director in 2015.

According to MLB.com, Kapler posted the statement on his website, Kaplifestyle.com, which crashed afterward.

In the statement, Kapler said that while there was a physical altercation involving two women attacking a girl at a hotel room one of the players was staying at, an allegation of sexual assault was never relayed to him.

On Friday, Will Hobson, Christian Red and Teri Thompson of the Washington Post reported that Kapler did not contact the police after a 17-year-old girl said that two women who were with the players kicked and punched her for throwing up on the hotel bed after she had consumed half a bottle of vodka. One of the players allegedly videotaped the assault.

In the statement, Kapler said that he initially received an email from the girl's grandmother with a written account of what happened during the incident.

After calling the grandmother to confirm, Kapler said he spoke with the players.

One of the players was determined to have been passed out due to intoxication, while the other player largely confirmed the grandmother's story, per Kapler.

Kapler added that the girl then emailed him about the incident but that her account did not include any mention of sexual assault.

In his statement, Kapler summarized what he was told:

"• Two players and two women met the individual in question. The group of five returned to the hotel room where one of the players was staying.

• One player passed out on the bed.

• The victim vomited on the other bed due to alcohol intoxication.

• The two women proceeded to hit her on the head and poured water on her.

• The other player shared a video clip of the incident on Snapchat.

• The two women asked the victim to leave."

The Washington Post report noted that Kapler attempted to arrange a dinner between the players and the girl, and Kapler explained his rationale behind trying to do so:

"Both players admitted their role in the incident and felt remorseful that their actions helped to create a situation that allowed these events to occur in their presence. The two players wanted to apologize directly to the victim for their poor decision making and lack of responsibility or maturity. To facilitate this, and with the understanding (as recounted by all parties I spoke to) that there was no physical or sexual encounters between the players and the alleged victim, I suggested a meeting in order for the players to apologize. The sole purpose was to provide the opportunity for the victim to receive an apology in a controlled environment with supervision, and to educate the players on how to be accountable. The meeting was suggested to the victim, and she declined. We respected her wishes and dropped the idea."

As part of the Washington Post article, it was reported that while Kapler was not notified of an alleged sexual assault via email, the girl later told police that one of the players sexually assaulted her while she was "struggling to remain conscious."

Kapler said he was unaware of the sexual assault allegation until this week.

In his statement, Kapler wrote that he was contacted three times by the victim and her grandmother asking for financial assistance. Kapler said that he notified others within the Dodgers organization of the request but did not partake in any negotiations.

With regard to why he did not contact the authorities following the incident, Kapler provided the following explanation:

"The question of why I didn't report this to the police is a fair one. Admittedly, there were many thoughts going through my mind at the time. But above all, the victim's grandmother asked for my reassurance that I wouldn't "turn [the victim] in" before the victim would share what had happened. After the victim shared her description of the night, she sent me a follow up email and said she didn't want to talk about it any further. My feeling at the time was that the victim should have the right to make the decision about what she wanted to do. Perhaps I should have taken it out of her hands, but my intention was to respect the victim and her wishes.

"In addition to my own involvement with this process, I alerted my supervisor and the Dodgers legal department to allow them to handle whatever employment and legal consequences were deemed appropriate to the situation. It should be noted that because the incident occurred in February, minor league players had not yet reported to camp. There were no formal baseball activities. I could not then suspend or bench the players or pull them from games—there were none going on at that time.

"Again, at the time and as far as I was aware, there were no claims that either player assaulted anyone in any way (sexually or otherwise). While others determined the consequences for the players from a legal and social perspective, I and others in player development took steps to work on their decision-making skills."

Kapler added that during his handling of the situation, he had "no reason to suspect that a sexual assault was alleged."

The 43-year-old Kapler is a former MLB outfielder who served in his role with the Dodgers until October 2017 when the Phillies hired him to be their new manager.

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