Update: The jury in the child sex assault trial of former All-Star and World Series MVP pitcher John Wetteland deadlocked, leading the judge to declare a mistrial Friday. "We will move forward, whether this means it is resolved through negotiations or trial again is up to him," a prosecutor said afterward. Wetteland testified in his own defense and says the alleged victim, who is now 22, lied when he accused Wetteland of assaulting him three times, starting when he was 4, in the master bathroom shower of Wetteland's Texas home, the AP reports. The accuser also testified, and said he had no plans of getting law enforcement involved when he wrote a letter about the alleged abuse meant only for his family. But software for his school district flagged the letter, which was written on a Google Docs account linked to the accuser's school-issued email, in 2019 and an investigation was launched. Our original story from Jan. 16, 2019, follows:
A retired Major League Baseball pitcher has been arrested on an extremely disturbing charge that could send him to prison for the rest of his life. John Wetteland, a former World Series MVP who played for the Texas Rangers from 1997 to 2000, was arrested in Texas on Monday on a charge of repeated sexual abuse of somebody under 14, USA Today reports. An arrest affidavit states that the 52-year-old is accused of having a 4-year-old relative perform a sex act on him in 2004, and twice more in the following two-year period. Wetteland, who was arrested at his home in a Dallas suburb, posted $25,000 bond and was released from custody the same day, reports the Dallas Morning News.
There was no comment from Wetteland's former wife, who divorced him in 2015, but one of his children said on Facebook that the allegations are untrue, the Morning News reports. Wetteland pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Montreal Expos, and New York Yankees before joining the Rangers. After retiring, he coached for the Washington Nationals and the Seattle Mariners. The Nationals fired him in 2006 after manager Frank Robinson complained that the team had been focusing on practical jokes instead of improving their game. In 2009, while he was coaching for the Mariners, authorities said they had received a 911 call from his home saying he was contemplating suicide, the AP reports. He later said he had been dealing with "elevated blood pressure." (Read more child sex abuse stories.)