Mistrial in Texas abuse case against ex-MVP Wetteland

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

The Denton County jury told Judge Lee Ann Breading three times that it was divided 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 will retry the case against the 56-year-old. The Rangers Hall of Famer faced 25 years to life in prison, if convicted.

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

The accuser, now 22, said the abuse occurred in the shower in the master bathroom of Wetteland’s home in Bartonville, located just south of Denton.

Wetteland’s attorneys said the accuser was manipulated into making false accusations against Wetteland.

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

Prosecutor Rachel Nichols said the accuser “had nothing to gain” by bringing allegations of abuse.

“He’s not this bad boy,” Nichols said. “He didn’t want the world to know.”

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