The attorney for John Wetteland, the former Major League pitcher arrested on child sex charges, has insisted that his client is innocent and he intends to plead ‘not guilty’ at his upcoming trial.
In January, a relative of Wetteland’s accused the 52-year-old former All-Star closer of sexual assault between 2004 and 2006, when the accuser was between four- and six-years old. In March, a grand injury indicted Wetteland on three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child.
‘What they’ve accused him of, the only thing worse is murder,’ Wetteland’s attorney, Derek Adame, told the Dallas Morning News after Monday’s hearing. ‘He was completely shocked [by the allegations].’
Each of the three sex acts occurred in Wetteland’s master bathroom shower, according to a previous report from the New York Post.
Neither Wetteland nor his current wife Rebecca spoke with reporters after Monday’s hearing.
The Morning News previously reached out to Wetteland’s ex-wife, but she refused to comment. The couple divorced in 2015. They have four children.
Wetteland feels betrayed by his accuser, Adame explained, adding that his client is a trustworthy individual.
‘Think about someone you think the world of, who you trust,’ Adame said. ‘That’s John Wetteland, for a lot of people.
‘We look forward to the opportunity to prove our innocence, which is what Mr. Wetteland is. He is innocent and is looking forward to his day in court.’
After starting his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Wetteland first made a name for himself with the Montreal Expos before being traded to the New York Yankees in 1995. The following season he would be named World Series MVP following the Yankees’ six-game victory over the Atlanta Braves.
In 1997 he signed with the Texas Rangers, and retired as the team’s all-time leader in saves.
For his career, the three-time All-Star has a remarkable 330 saves (15th all time) and an impressive 2.97 earned-run average.
Wetteland earned over $33 million in salary over his 12-year career, according to Baseball Reference.
Wetteland did have problems with drugs and alcohol as a teenager, according to a New York Times profile from 1995. Later, the article explained, he came to abhor drugs and alcohol.
‘Once he nearly overdosed on a combination of drugs, including LSD, at a Grateful Dead concert,’ wrote Jack Curry in the piece. ‘Another time, Wetteland was in the front seat when a drunken friend rammed his car into a telephone pole. Something happened. He trudged on. He kept playing baseball and guitar. He kept walking crooked.’
His then-wife Michele spoke somewhat cryptically about Wetteland’s problems, describing him as ‘two different’ people.
‘It was difficult for him to forgive his parents for some things he had to go through as a kid,’ she said, adding, ‘He wishes they would have protected him from some of the things he experienced.’
‘He was really wild and really out there at one time and it was so opposed to my beliefs as a Christian,’ she said.
‘God’s word says the old man is cast off. John’s old man has been cast off. If you asked me if I sit here in awe of John and how obedient he has been to God’s word, I’d tell you that I do.’
Wetteland taught middle school bible studies and served as an assistant baseball coach at Liberty Christian School in Argyle, Texas during the 2007-08 school year, a representative told Dailymail.com. He no longer has a relationship with the school.
In 2009, while working as the bullpen coach for the Seattle Mariners, Wetteland was hospitalized for what was originally deemed a ‘mental health’ issue, but both he and the team later released statements claiming he was dealing with elevated blood pressure.
According to the New York Daily News, a woman called the police from Wetteland’s home out of fear that he might hurt himself.
‘She said he was complaining of being depressed and contemplating suicide,’ Denton County Sheriff’s Sgt. Roger Griggs told the Daily News.
According to the Mariners, the police report was erroneous.
‘We were relieved once we heard the details from John and Michele and that John is safe at home and in good health,’ Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik said in the 2009 statement. ‘Contrary to earlier news reports, the reason John was hospitalized was because of an extremely high heart rate.’
Wetteland previously served as a bullpen coach for the Washington Nationals. The team fired him, allegedly, because of his penchant for practical jokes.