Gabe Kapler said Saturday that it was “fair” to ask why he did not contact police in 2015 after being told that a 17-year-old girl was allegedly assaulted by two women after partying in the spring-training hotel room of a Los Angeles Dodgers minor-league player.
Kapler, the Phillies manager, was then in his first season overseeing the Dodgers' minor-league system as the team’s director of player development.
The 17-year-old’s grandmother emailed Kapler after her granddaughter told her about the incident. Kapler, nor the Dodgers, contacted police. Kapler tried to arrange a meeting between the girl and the two players, but the girl declined.
The girl, according to police records obtained by the Washington Post, later told police that she was sexually assaulted by one of the players. Kapler wrote Saturday in a statement that “no allegation of sexual assault was made to me during my handling of this incident.”
When reached on Saturday, the Phillies had no comment.
“The question of why I didn’t report this to the police is a fair one. Admittedly, there were many thoughts going through my mind at the time,” Kapler wrote about his decision to not contact the police. “But above all, the victim’s grandmother asked for my reassurance that I wouldn’t ‘turn [the victim] in’ before the victim would share what had happened.
"After the victim shared her description of the night, she sent me a follow up email and said she didn’t want to talk about it any further. My feeling at the time was that the victim should have the right to make the decision about what she wanted to do. Perhaps I should have taken it out of her hands, but my intention was to respect the victim and her wishes.”
Kapler wrote that he was first contacted by the girl’s grandmother on Feb. 24, 2015, a day after the alleged assault. The Post reported that the grandmother obtained Kapler’s email address by first contacting the Arizona hotel were the incident was alleged to have happened. The hotel staff put her in touch with the Dodgers, who gave her Kapler’s contact information.
Kapler wrote that he called the grandmother and then spoke to the players. The 17-year-old girl emailed Kapler the next day.
Kapler wrote that “two players and two women met the individual in question” and then returned to the hotel room where one of the players was staying. One player passed out on the bed and the 17-year-old girl vomited on the other bed from alcohol intoxication. The two women, Kapler wrote, “proceeded to hit her on the head and poured water on her.”
The other Dodgers player allegedly watched the incident and filmed it for his SnapChat account
“The two women asked the victim to leave,” Kapler wrote.
Kapler wrote that both players “admitted their role in the incident and felt remorseful that their actions helped to create a situation that allowed these events to occur in their presence” and “wanted to apologize directly to the victim for their poor decision making and lack of responsibility or maturity.”
“To facilitate this, and with the understanding (as recounted by all parties I spoke to) that there was no physical or sexual encounters between the players and the alleged victim, I suggested a meeting in order for the players to apologize,” Kapler wrote.
“The sole purpose was to provide the opportunity for the victim to receive an apology in a controlled environment with supervision, and to educate the players on how to be accountable. The meeting was suggested to the victim, and she declined. We respected her wishes and dropped the idea.”
Kapler wrote that he alerted his supervisor and the Dodgers' legal team to “allow them to handle whatever employment and legal consequences were deemed appropriate to the situation.” The team’s minor-league spring training had yet to officially begin, so Kapler said he could not suspend the players or remove them from games.
Kapler’s statement said that the player in question asked him on March 4, 2015 for assistance with securing an attorney after he was contacted by police. Kapler wrote that he “passed that request to the appropriate parties within the Dodgers” and was told that day that the Dodgers would be hiring an attorney for the player.
Kapler, at the request of the attorney, shared the communications he had with the 17-year-old girl and her grandmother.
The attorney, Kapler wrote, thanked him for sharing the information “regarding the police investigation of an incident that occurred at the Hampton Inn in Glendale on February 23-24, 2015.” Kapler then believed that his role was complete as “the situation was in the hands of the police and the legal system.” The player, Kapler said, was released by the Dodgers before the investigation was finished.
“I take violence against women, especially sexual violence, incredibly seriously,” Kapler wrote.
“In this particular case, the notion that a sexual assault had taken place was never brought up during the time that I was involved in responding. There is a big difference between responding to a player who displayed an unacceptable lack of judgment and one that assaulted a woman. I am well aware of that difference, and I assure you that I would have acted differently if at the time I was involved I had reason to believe that a sexual assault had occurred.
“In short, I believed everything that the victim told me throughout the process, and I acted based on that information to the best of my ability. During my handling of this situation, I had no reason to suspect that a sexual assault was alleged.
" I tried to make the players involved aware of their poor decisions, and I tried to encourage them to make proper decisions in the future. I believe I acted with the best intentions based on what I knew at the time. My goal in every interaction is to always act with integrity and to treat everyone with respect, and I believe my actions reflected those principles.”