Ray McDonald filed a defamation lawsuit in court Monday against the woman who accused him of sexual assault, hoping to clear his name and to once again return to the NFL.
After news broke that McDonald was being investigated in connection with the December encounter, which happened in McDonald’s home, the 30-year-old defensive tackle was cut from the team due to a “pattern of poor decision-making,” in a statement given by the team’s general manager, Trent Baalke. Since that “poor decision,” he has not been able to sign with another team because none are willing to pick him up, presumably due to his poor choices and negative publicity. This has taken an incredible toll on his financial and athletic success.
He has not been formally charged nor cleared by the Santa Clara DA’s office, a position which leaves him in a no win situation, says his attorney Steve Defilippis.
“The best route would be for the DA’s office to formally drop charges, and really the only way to put it out there for a potential decision is by filing a lawsuit against her.”
Unfortunately for McDonald, this has not been his first encounter with the law or episode of questionable decision-making. This is the most recent incident; last year, he was arrested in his home for domestic assault against his then-pregnant fiance. Prosecutors could not file charges in that case, as they lacked evidence to do so.
The woman who is currently suing McDonald told police she was “possibly sexually assaulted” by McDonald in his San Jose home last year after drinking alcohol with him. The woman told police she remembered hitting her head and then awoke naked in bed with McDonald, who denied to her that they’d had sex.
She went to police, and he also denied to police that he’d had sex with her, but then later admitted that he “had sex with her” and “didn’t do anything wrong.” It is unclear how she hit her head.
To add a more difficult twist to the case according to McDonald’s lawsuit, the two had a night of “moderate drinking” on December 13, which led to “consensual sexual intercourse” and several more instances of “consensual sexual relations” the next day.
The suit says the woman didn’t tell police that she had sex with McDonald several times the next day, unaware that the two were captured on security cameras inside and outside McDonald’s home, which apparently prove the nature of the incidents.
Former Santa Clara County prosecutor Steve Clark, who is now a criminal defense attorney, says filing the defamation suit was a very risky move for McDonald.
“This is definitely a very risky move. I think the risk was understood. If a victim goes to the police it’s privileged. If every time a victim or witness comes forward they face a lawsuit, it’s problematic for the criminal justice system.”
McDonald’s attorney acknowledges the risk, but believes at this point it is a good option to attempt to clear his client’s name and get him literally back in the game.
[photo by LM Otero, Associated Press]