Photo credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports
According to a report posted on TMZ, Edwin Encarnacion is facing a lawsuit filed by a 24-year-old woman that alleges he knowingly gave her multiple STDs during a romantic weekend in February.
The woman behind the lawsuit claims she’s a 24-year-old family friend of the MLB star who first met him in 2013.
In her lawsuit, the woman claims she hooked up with one of Edwin’s teammates in 2015 — but was tested in December 2015 at a Planned Parenthood and was told she was clean.
The woman claims she later hooked up with Edwin during a trip to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic in February 2016 … and had unprotected sex on at least 2 occasions.
Problem is … the woman claims she was in pain in the days after the hookup and thought she had Zika — so she went to a doctor.
She later learned it was NOT Zika — but rather two STDs.
The woman says that Edwin first insisted he was clean, and suggested to her that “she may have picked up [the STDs] when they went 4-wheeling and she swam in the river.” Ugh. According to the report the woman says Edwin later backed off on his claims to have been STD-free, and she now believes he knew that he had them all along.
Obviously this is a very serious allegation, and gross and shitty and hopefully not true. What it means, legally, is a bit tricky, especially for a layman like myself. I’m coming up empty on a quick Google on knowing STD transmission laws in the Dominican, which is necessary because such laws tend to vary by jurisdiction. What I suppose is obvious here is that it’s a civil, rather than a criminal matter. The suit alleges battery (which, so we’re not confused, isn’t a separate thing — the alleged knowing transmission of STDs is the battery) as well as “misrepresentation of the facts” (TMZ’s words), and the woman is seeking $11.5-million in damages.
Asked for comment, Edwin’s agent offered a “no comment” to TMZ.
Some background on the legal issues here at play, from the perspective of American law, can be found via Criminal Defence Lawyer.
As for the other issues at play… OK. It’s 2016 and we know now — as we should have always, but evidently didn’t — how truly important it is to listen to and believe people who speak up and say they are victims, especially when the subject is sexual assault, which this certainly is, or is a form of. Those kinds of crimes are difficult to prove, as I suspect this one will be as well, and require the victim to be victimized again through scrutiny within the legal system, and — in high profile cases such as this — in the court of public opinion. That’s why so many crimes of this nature go unreported, and everything possible that can be done to change that, and to change the culture that makes excuses for that fact is in order.
The high burden of proof and everything that comes with filing these kinds of charges means that they’re not filed frivolously in the way that those who will be quick to jump the defence of the accused will want to insist. Does that mean such allegations are always true? No, but if your want is for justice, not just in this case but in the grandest sense — and it should be — it’s imperative to understand these things and to understand how much harder you make it for other victims to seek and achieve justice for themselves when your instinct is to shout things like “innocent until proven guilty!” or all the other things typical of the he-said, she-said conversations that usually consume this topic.
I can’t tell anyone how they should feel about Edwin now that this story is out there, largely because I don’t know how to feel about any of this myself. I mean, am I tacitly taking a side by straining to not take a side? I hope not. And I hope that if somebody thinks so we can have a productive and civil conversation about it that broadens everybody’s understanding of the things at play here. All I know is the world can be awful and complicated, and all I can really suggest is to keep an open mind and try your best to avoid making it a worse and more difficult place for those who deserve better.
If that sounds a bit heavy for what’s probably mostly going to be framed as a salacious tabloid story of bad boy ballplayers, that’s only because there really is a whole hell of a lot more to it than that.