TORONTO — The assault case against former star Blue Jays pitcher Roberto Osuna ended on Tuesday when the prosecution withdrew the charge against him in exchange for a one-year agreement he stay away from the mother of his child and continue counselling.
Speaking in Ontario court, prosecutor Catherine Mullaly said the complainant, Alejandra Roman Cota, had made it clear she would not return to Toronto to testify against Osuna.
"The Crown does not have a reasonable prospect of conviction on this charge absent her testimony," Mullaly told Judge Melvyn Green. "Upon signing the recognizance, the Crown will withdraw the charge."
Osuna was charged with a single count of assault on May 8. Roman Cota, the mother of their three-year-old son, was visiting Toronto from Mexico when the alleged assault took place, said Mullaly, the head of the domestic violence team.
Roman Cota, who is in her early 20s, returned to Mexico shortly afterward and said she would not come back to testify, court heard. As a Mexican citizen, Canadian authorities could not compel her to take the witness stand.
In a conversation with Toronto Det. Vivian Meik, Roman Cota said she had no fears for her safety and wanted to resume contact and parenting responsibilities with Osuna, court heard.
After the hearing, Osuna, who nodded when Green asked if he understood the peace bond, issued a statement in both English and Spanish in which he expressed his relief at the conclusion of the case and thanked his family, teammates and fans for their support.
"Now I can begin to put these allegations behind me and focus on baseball," Osuna said. "I am grateful to the Astros for providing me with the opportunity to play baseball and compete for a World Series championship."
He said he would have no further comment on the case given that he planned "on moving past this and look only to the future."
After the May incident, Major League Baseball suspended Osuna without pay for 75 games for violating its domestic violence policy. The Jays dealt him to the Houston Astros on July 30. On Monday, the pitcher came on to a chorus of boos when the Astros beat the Jays in Toronto in the first of a three-series match-up.
Known formally as a Section 810 recognizance, the peace bond Osuna signed obliges him to continue counselling. He may not have contact with Roman Cota without her express written consent. Mullaly also said Osuna had completed counselling both through Major League Baseball and privately with a psychotherapist in Toronto.
Osuna's lawyer, Domenic Basile, told court that his client's agreement to enter the peace bond was not to be construed as an admission of guilt, and that the player had insisted all along he was not guilty.
"I wish to make it clear that this is not an admission of criminal or civil liability," Basile said. "He is content to enter into the peace bond (and) is aware of the conditions and will abide by the conditions."
Basile, who later issued a statement saying he was "extremely pleased" with the outcome, had previously said his client was remorseful, but planned to plead not guilty had the matter gone to trial.
In a statement of their own, the Astros said the team was committed to increasing its support regarding domestic violence.
Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press