PHILADELPHIA — A woman said she had a sexual relationship with Pete Rose in the 1970s, starting when she was 14 or 15 years old, according to her sworn testimony submitted to a court Monday.
The testimony was presented by the defence as part of a federal lawsuit Rose filed last year in Philadelphia against a lawyer whose investigation got baseball’s all-time hits leader kicked out of Major League Baseball for gambling.
Rose contends John Dowd defamed him in 2015 by saying on the radio that the former baseball great had raped young teen girls during spring training.
Rose’s lawyer Ray Genco said the woman’s claims are unverified.
“At this point it’s just a big distraction,” Genco said. “It tips me off that (Dowd) really can’t defend himself.” The attorney also accused Dowd of dragging “Pete’s name through the mud.”
Rose alleges in the lawsuit that Dowd damaged his reputation and endorsement deals during a July 2015 interview on WCHE-AM radio in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
Dowd investigated Rose in 1989, leading him to be declared ineligible for the Hall of Fame.
Dowd said during the radio appearance that Rose associate Michael Bertolini told investigators he “ran young girls” to Rose during spring training, which Dowd called “statutory rape every time,” according to Rose’s lawsuit. Bertolini’s lawyers have denied that.
The woman, identified as “Jane Doe” in Monday’s filing, said Rose called her in 1973, when she was 14 or 15, and they began a sexual relationship in Cincinnati that lasted several years. She also alleges Rose met her in locations outside of Ohio for sex.
Rose, 76, acknowledged in a statement accompanying Monday’s filing that he did have a relationship with the woman, but he said it started when she was 16, the age of consent in Ohio. He also states they never had sex outside the state of Ohio.
At the time, Rose was in his mid-30s and was married with two kids.
Dowd’s lawyer David Tobin said he couldn’t comment on the latest filing.
Rose, who lives in Las Vegas, had applied for reinstatement to the game in 2015. Not long after, Dowd was asked on WCHE-AM whether he found Rose to be a likable person.