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Sexual assault charges reinstated for ex-Tiger Reed

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

Detroit — A judge on Friday reinstated charges against pitcher Evan Reed who is accused of sexually assaulting a woman last spring when he played for the Detroit Tigers.

Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Michael Callahan heard the prosecutor’s appeal Friday after a district judge on Aug. 21 dismissed criminal sexual conduct charges against Reed, saying the woman’s story wasn’t credible.

Callahan ordered Reed bound over for trial after ruling 36th District Judge Kenneth King abused discretion in dismissing the charges in August.

“My task today isn’t to determine the guilt or innocence of Mr. Reed,” Callahan said moments before announcing his decision. “My sole decision is whether or not the magistrate below abused his discretion in refusing to bind the defendant over on the charges.”

In the case, the 45-year-old woman has claimed Reed, 28, met her in the 5th Avenue bar in Royal Oak on March 29, slipped something into her drink, and took her to his sixth-floor room at the MotorCity Casino. She also claimed he raped her the next morning, a day before the Tigers opened their season.

At the hearing Friday, which Reed did not attend, prosecutors described in detail the alleged assaults. Prosecutors also argued it’s undisputed the woman was incapacitated and force was not necessary for an assault to take place.

“The district court acknowledged that whatever the victim ingested the night before caused her to be so intoxicated that she was incapacitated that evening,” Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Ana Quiroz said. “The video shows that the defendant arrived at the MotorCity Casino around 1:30 in the morning with a victim who was so incapacitated that she was barely conscious.”

Quiroz said the woman was in pain and disoriented the next morning.

“Her body was hurting. She testified that her head was pounding and her neck ached,” Quiroz said. “She tried to stand up and the room was spinning. This woman was ill.”

Reed’s attorney, Ben Gornek, questioned the woman’s credibility, emphasizing inconsistencies from her earlier testimony. He said the woman claimed to be “crying hysterically” and felt disoriented when she left the hotel room.

“But the video shows that when she left the hotel room, she walked down six flights of stairs in high heels,” Gonek said.

Gonek also questioned why the woman didn’t reach out for help immediately.

“She walked by a Detroit police car (outside the hotel) and didn’t report anything,” he said.

Gonek said following the hearing he would appeal Callahan’s decision to the Michigan Court of Appeals to try and reinstate King’s August decision to drop charges.

“We’re not asking for any unfair advantage,” he said. “When you review the transcript and review the testimony and review (the woman’s) credibility, I think they will reverse Judge Callahan’s decision and reinstate Judge King’s.”

Reed insists they had consensual sex. He is now a free agent after pitching with the Tigers and Triple-A Toledo last season.

During the woman’s testimony earlier this year, she backtracked several times. She first claimed she didn’t know she was with ballplayers in the bar, despite texting a friend: “I’m sitting with Tigers, dummy!” She later said she thought some of the men were baseball players, but not Reed.

“I don’t believe the alleged victim when she says she didn’t know who these people were,” King said. “She said she didn’t know they were Tigers until two days later ... why are you being less than truthful?”

Reed appeared relieved in August as he spoke to reporters outside the courthouse.

“I have my life back,” he said. “This nightmare has gone on longer than it should have. Now I can concentrate on baseball and hopefully pitch for the Tigers again.”

There were four witnesses during the August hearing: a coat-check girl at the bar where Reed and his accuser met; a maintenance man at the MotorCity Casino, where Reed had a hotel room the night of the alleged assault; the prosecution’s co-lead investigator in the case; and, finally, the woman who claims Reed raped her.

The woman said she and a friend went to the 5th Avenue bar, and that Reed called her to his table. He was sitting with three other men she assumed were Detroit Tigers, one of whom was relief pitcher Joba Chamberlain.

But she said Reed lied and told her he was 41 years old. She added that she assumed he wasn’t a ballplayer.

“He didn’t seem to fit the profile,” she said.

The woman said she’s an avid Tigers fan, who planned to go to Opening Day the next day. She painted her fingernails with the Tigers logo, she said.

She said she drank two vodka and tonics, and then had a third drink, which she left on her table when she and Reed danced. When she returned, she said she took a sip, and that the drink tasted sour.

King asked her why she continued drinking it if it tasted different, and the woman said she assumed someone had added a lime to it.

Reed and the woman left the bar and took a cab to the casino hotel. Surveillance video from the casino was played in court and showed the woman stumbling and falling. Reed eventually picked her up and carried her for several feet.

The woman said she didn’t remember much about that night, but the next morning she said she awoke in Room 621 feeling disoriented. She said she stumbled into the shower, where Reed joined her and, she said, raped her.

The woman said she told him to stop, but he wouldn’t. After the alleged assault, she said she went back to the hotel bed and tried to go to sleep, but that Reed forced himself on her again. When she refused, she claims Reed told her to go home.

King said the woman’s own description of what allegedly happened was one reason for tossing the allegations.

“You wake up in a hotel room and you’re naked, and the person you’re there with is naked, and even after this happens to you, your thought is not to put your clothes on and get the heck out of there; your thought is to wash up, get back in the bed and try to sleep it off.”

After the woman left the hotel room, she encountered a casino maintenance worker, but did not tell him she’d been raped — another reason King cited for throwing out the case in August.

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