According to court documents obtained by ESPN, an unidentified woman, in a sworn statement, alleged that Pete Rose, 76, had a sexual relationship with her, in the 1970’s, before her 16th birthday. In Ohio, where both Rose and the woman lived at the time, the legal age of consent is 16, thus, her allegations amount to statutory rape. However, according to Sports Illustrated, the claims cannot be prosecuted because of the expiration of the statute of limitations.
In court documents made public, Rose acknowledged the relationship with a young woman in the 1970’s, but stated his belief that she was 16. At this point, Rose was 34 years old, married and was father to two children by 1975. The woman further alleged that the relationship took place outside of Ohio as well, but did not specify the states. The woman, referred to as “Jane Doe” in the filing, claims the relationship began when she was 14 or 15. Rose said he does not remember how long the relationship lasted.
The woman’s statement appeared in a motion filed by John Dowd, the former special counsel of the MLB. Dowd and Rose have been intertwined before, as the lawyer accused Rose, in a 2015 radio interview, of having underage girls delivered to him during spring training. Dowd said to a station in West Chester PA: “Michael Bertolini told us, you know, he not only ran bets, but ran young girls down at spring training, ages 12 to 14. Isn’t that lovely? So that’s statutory rape every time you do that.” Rose later sued Dowd for defamation over his claims.
Rose, the all-time Major League hits leader, was banned from the game for life in 1989 after an investigation found that he had bet on games while manager of the Cincinnati Reds. The investigation was, interestingly, led by Dowd, then special counselor to Major League Baseball. Because of his exclusion from baseball, Rose is also out of consideration for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Commissioner Rob Manfred recently upheld Rose’s ban in 2015.
His exclusion from the Hall of Fame has been an increasingly large topic of discussion in recent years. Rose has tried, with each passing commissioner, to be reinstated into the game. Commissioner Manfred described Rose as an “unacceptable risk” in 2015. This punctuated Rose’s third attempt at reinstatement. “Reconfigure your life” was the advice Commissioner Bart Giamatti gave Rose upon his ejection.
The Philadelphia Phillies, a former team of Rose, announced that he would not be taking part in their mid-August Alumni celebrations, despite his place in Philadelphia sports history. “Due to recent events” the Phillies have decided their tribute to Rose, who had been voted to the team’s Wall of Fame, would not be taking place.
According to ESPN, Rose himself stated: “While I am truly honored that the Phillies fans voted for me to be this year’s Wall of Fame inductee, I am concerned that other matters will overshadow the goodwill associated with Alumni Weekend, and I agree with the decision not to participate.”
Currently an analyst for Fox Sports, a spokesperson declined to comment on Rose’s future with the network, but did state that there was no current date for his next on-air assignment. Aside from the poor optics for the network, there is Rose’s own admission of the relationship to contend with, as he confirmed the relationship existed, only disagreeing on the woman’s age. Many believe Rose has made his final broadcast for the network. Bill Reiter, a Fox Sports Broadcaster, pushed for Rose to be jettisoned in a strong column.
Tom Verducci wrote, in a Sports Illustrated article: “baseball doesn’t trust Pete Rose.” At the time of Verducci’s article, only his gambling had come to light; to stain the game for which Pete Rose had become a titan. 28 years after his initial ban, any baby steps Rose has made towards contrition have evaporated. These allegations leave Rose’s relationship with baseball irreconcilable. Baseball never wanted to shame one of its foremost champions, Pete Rose shamed baseball.
Header Photo: Ethan Miller/GettyImages