Pete Rose statutory rape accusation: What we know now


Monday news broke that a woman claimed to have had a sexual relationship with Pete Rose when she was under 16 years of age.

Here is what we know:

Rose has filed a defamation lawsuit against John Dowd, who told a Pennsylvania radio station in 2015 Rose’s bookie used to also arrange sexual encounters for Rose with underage girls during spring training.

The bookie, Michael Bertolini, has denied telling Dowd this happened.

RELATED: Rose’s lawsuit against Dowd allowed to move forward

Dowd is a former U.S. Attorney hired by Major League Baseball to investigate Rose’s gambling habits in the 1980s when he was a player and manager of the Cincinnati Reds.

Although Rose accepted a lifetime ban from baseball in 1989, he maintained until 2004 he had not bet on baseball.

Dowd’s legal team has submitted an affidavit to the court in which a woman identified as Jane Doe alleges she had a sexual relationship with Rose in the 1970s before she turned 16, the age of consent in Ohio. 

In the document, Rose admits the relationship occurred but says it did not occur until she was 16 (i.e., under legal circumstances). 

Whether this accomplishes anything legally or not, it is another black eye for Rose. 

Even if Rose’s claim he did nothing illegal is true, he was more than twice the woman’s age at the time of their encounters, and he was married with children. 

Defamation suits are rarely filed by public figures such as Rose because they require a different standard to achieve a guilty verdict. Rose must prove that Dowd acted with actual malice, saying something about him he knew was false or with reckless disregard for the truth. 

Such suits also open up both sides to a discovery phase that can reveal aspects of a person's life he or she might not want made public, as exemplified by the filing made public Monday and the indication Dowd's lawyers want Rose to answer more potentially uncomfortable questions. 

A lawyer for Rose told WCPO investigators for Dowd have "spoken to many, many women in an attempt to get them to falsely claim that Pete had statutorily raped a girl." 


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