The Philadelphia Phillies announced Wednesday that Pete Rose won't take part in the team's Alumni Weekend festivities at Citizens Bank Park from Aug. 10-13 "due to recent events" and their planned tribute to him would not take place. Rose had been voted by fans to be inducted into the team's Wall of Fame.
ESPN's Outside the Lines reported Monday that a sworn statement by an unidentified woman, contained in a motion filed in John Dowd's defense against Rose's defamation lawsuit, alleges that Rose had a sexual relationship with the woman for several years in the 1970s, beginning before she turned 16.
"While I am truly honored that the Phillies fans voted for me to be this year's Wall of Fame inductee, I am concerned that other matters will overshadow the goodwill associated with Alumni Weekend, and I agree with the decision not to participate."Pete Rose
Dowd oversaw the investigation that led to Rose's ban from baseball in 1989.
Rose acknowledged he had a sexual relationship with the woman in court documents made public Monday, but he said his information and belief was that it started when she was 16, which is the legal age of consent in Ohio. He was 34, married and the father of two children in 1975, when he says he began having sex with the woman, referred to in the filing as "Jane Doe." Rose said he does not recall how long the relationship lasted.
The woman's account does not raise the prospect of a criminal charge for Rose, as it is well past Ohio's statute of limitations. She said they also had sex outside of Ohio when she was 16 or younger, but she didn't specify the states, and Rose said their sexual relationship was confined to Ohio. In some states, such as Florida, the legal age of consent is 18.
"While I am truly honored that the Phillies fans voted for me to be this year's Wall of Fame inductee, I am concerned that other matters will overshadow the goodwill associated with Alumni Weekend, and I agree with the decision not to participate," Rose said in a statement.
The Phillies also said they will not give away a Rose bobblehead figure as planned on Aug. 11. The team said that fans who have tickets for that game or for the Aug. 12 game can exchange them for any remaining game on the 2017 schedule or choose to receive a refund.
Rose made four All-Star appearances and helped the Phillies to one of their two world championships during his five seasons in Philadelphia from 1979 to '83.
Rose was set to become the 39th inductee into the club's Wall of Fame.
His attorney, Martin Garbus, told Outside the Lines he didn't blame the Phillies but said the fallout from the unidentified woman's statement is unfair.
"It's terrible, the woman lied. I think it's outrageous he [Rose] is being punished in the media by a false statement issued by Dowd, who previously libeled him."
Rose's 2016 defamation suit against Dowd is about comments Dowd made in radio interviews in the summer of 2015. Dowd said he learned more than a quarter century earlier from a former Rose associate about Rose committing statutory rape of 12-14 year olds in spring training in Florida.
Dowd's motion on Monday, containing the statement of "Jane Doe," asked the court to compel Rose to answer questions such as whether he had sex with other high school girls. Rose's attorneys objected to several defense questions, in part due to what they said is his right to privacy.
David Tobin, an attorney for Dowd, reiterated to Outside the Lines on Wednesday, "We'll let the filing speak for itself."
Outside the Lines obtained Rose's lawyers' Tuesday filing in federal court, 3 miles from the Phillies' ballpark, to address what District Judge Petrese B. Tucker said last month was insufficient pleading on one of three counts (defamation). One count (tortious interference) was dismissed and another (defamation per se) was accepted.
The amended complaint details the national dissemination of Dowd's 2015 radio comments and alleges Rose suffered hundreds of thousands of dollars of financial damage as a result. Among the claims is that the management company behind a now-defunct Las Vegas sports bar bearing Rose's name paid him a much lower licensing fee than it would have -- and almost scrapped a deal with Rose altogether, perhaps to pursue one with Mike Tyson, according to a conversation quoted in the filing.
On continuing to pursue the case against Dowd, Garbus said, "It will not be dropped."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.