Mistrial in Former Rangers Pitcher’s Child-Sex-Assault Case

Mistrial in Former Rangers Pitcher's Child-Sex-Assault Case
Former Texas Rangers pitcher John Wetteland and his wife Rebecca Wetteland make their way to the courtroom on the fourth day of the trial in Denton County Courthouse on Friday, Sept. 2, 2022. | Image by Shafkat Anowar, The Dallas Morning News

A mistrial was declared in the case against former Rangers pitcher John Wetteland, who faced three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child in Denton County.

He was accused of sexually assaulting a relative three times between 2004 and 2006, starting when the relative was four years old.

The alleged assaults occurred in a bathroom shower at Wetteland’s former home in Bartonville, about 10 miles south of Denton, according to a court affidavit.

If convicted, Wetteland, 56, faced 25 years to life in prison.

The accuser claimed at trial that he had suffered from incontinence and suicidal thoughts and committed self-harm until, in 2016, at the age of 16, he finally revealed he was assaulted.

The allegation was not reported to the police at the time. The accuser testified he did not want to report the incident and only wanted an apology from Wetteland, according to the Denton Record-Chronicle.

The accuser’s school district discovered the allegations in 2019 when its email monitoring system flagged a letter about the alleged assaults that the accuser wrote at the advice of his mother, who suggested writing about it as a way of attaining closure.

The accuser wrote the letter in a Google Docs account linked to the accuser’s school email. The school district reported the letter’s allegations to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS).

A grand jury indicted Wetteland, who lives in Trophy Club, in 2019. Bartonville police have said the DFPS contacted the department about the case on January 9, 2019.

Wetteland pleaded not guilty to the charges and took the stand in his own defense during the trial. He argued that the allegations were false and possibly fabricated by someone other than the accuser.

The jury began deliberation on the case Friday, but after a few hours, said they were deadlocked. The jury reportedly told Judge Lee Ann Breading it would not be able to reach a unanimous verdict on three different occasions, but the judge pressed them to keep trying.

Judge Breading eventually declared the mistrial. It was unclear Friday whether prosecutors would pursue a second trial, according to the Star-Telegram.

Wetteland was inducted into the Texas Rangers’ hall of fame in 2005 and is the franchise’s all-time leader in saves. He pitched 12 seasons in the major leagues, playing his final four for Texas from 1997 to 2000.

A three-time All-Star, Wetteland also pitched two years for the New York Yankees, winning a World Series with the team in 1996 and earning the championship series MVP award.

After his playing career, Wetteland held a coaching and front office position with the Rangers in the early 2000s before serving as a bullpen coach for several other teams.

Wetteland also coached and taught Bible classes at Argyle’s Liberty Christian School from 2007 to 2008.

Support our non-profit journalism

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Continue reading on the app
Expand article