Tried in Texas abuse case against former MVP Wetteland

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DENTON, Texas (AP) — A Texas judge has declared a mistrial in the child molestation case against former All-Star pitcher and World Series MVP John Wetteland after the jury deadlocked .

The Denton County jury told Judge Lee Ann Breading three times that it was split before declaring a mistrial on Friday. Wetteland, who played for the Texas Rangers from 1997 to 2000 and also played for the New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners, was on trial for three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child.

It was unclear whether prosecutors would reconsider the case against the 56-year-old. The Hall of Fame Rangers faced 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

Authorities had accused Wetteland of sexually assaulting a child three times between 2004 and 2006, beginning when the child was 4 years old. Wetteland, who pleaded not guilty, testified in his own defense and said the accuser’s account of sexual abuse was a lie.

The accuser, who is now 22, said the abuse happened in the shower in the main bathroom at Wetteland’s home in Bartonville, just south of Denton.

Wetteland’s lawyers said the accuser was manipulated into making false charges against Wetteland.

The accuser testified that he did not want to involve law enforcement. Instead, he had written a letter intended only for family members disclosing the abuse. But, according to testimonies, an investigation was launched after the accuser’s high school learned of the allegations in 2019 when the software district reported a letter written in Google Docs that was linked to the email of the accuser issued by the school.

Prosecutor Rachel Nichols said the accuser had « nothing to gain » by bringing forward allegations of abuse.

« He’s not that evil kid, » Nichols said. « He didn’t want the world to know. »

The Associated Press

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