Starlin Castro became the face of the Chicago Cubs organization when new general manager Theo Epstein accepted the job to turn around a perennially losing franchise. Starlin Castro proved he deserved "the man" status when he made his first All Star appearance in only his second year in the majors at age 22.
Controversy has now followed the gifted young shortstop, as he faces potentially being charged with criminal sexual assault by an unidentified woman after meeting in a Chicago nightclub. Here are the 3 legal steps Castro to consider before Castro potentially faces an embarrassing arrest:
1. Investigation: What Really Happened on the Night of September 29?
WBBM Newsradio reported an unidentified woman in her 20s met Castro at a River North nightclub on September 29. River North is an area of the city where many yuppies, athletes, and celebrities enjoy fine dining and nightlife in Chicago. At approximately 3 a.m. CST, the unidentified woman and a friend went to Castro's apartment, where she alleged a sexual assault took place. The accuser went to a hospital the following evening.
When an alleged sexual assault victim goes to the hospital, Illinois law invokes its statewide sexual assault evidence collection program administered by state police. Police probably collected a sexual assault kit from Castro's alleged victim. They will analyze it and maintain chain of custody for a potential criminal proceeding,
Sexual assault charges against a public figure are handled with more care than a lay person. Before any arrest, Illinois police probably attempted to talk to Castro, most likely through his attorneys Jay K. Reisinger and Michael P. Gillespie. The police most likely asked him the details of the night; whether he in fact knew or met the unidentified woman; and, what his version of their interaction was (if any). Based on the fact police have obtained a sexual assault kit from the alleged victim, police may request Castro to submit to a DNA sample to see if it matches any DNA obtained from the sexual assault kit.
2. Arrest: Sterling Castro in Handcuffs
Chicago Police will arrest Sterling Castro if they have “probable cause” that a crime was committed. Often times a named witness who says a potential defendant committed a crime is usually enough to warrant turning charges over to a state prosecutor. The decision is not so clear cut in the matter of a professional athlete, who may be more likely to be a victim of false allegations. Law enforcement has to proceed with diligence and caution.
WBBM reported Sterling Castro left to the Dominican Republic after the alleged crime took place. An event like that could be seen as suspicious behavior by police. If police match Castro's DNA to the body of the unidentified victim, police would more likely than not arrest Castro.
3. Grand Jury, Trial, Defense: State Has to Prove Castro Sexually Assaulted Woman
Right now police are currently investigating Castro and speculating past an investigation and arrest would is premature. That being said, at trial it would have to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt Castro committed an act of sexual penetration using "force or a threat of force". If Castro indeed had any sexual contact with the unidentified woman, his lawyers would have to prove the woman "consented" to the sexual contact in question. The woman merely "letting" Castro proceed with sexual contact without resisting after force or a threat of force would not be an adequate defense.
The manner of the unidentified woman's dress would also not be a defense to sexual assault either, nor would initially consenting to sexual conduct and later withdrawing consent. Such a predicament could highly probable for a famous athlete meeting a woman who may be scantily clad at a nightclub who comes back to his apartment at 3 a.m.
No matter what happens next for Castro, it's not the type of attention neither he or the Cubs were looking for when he became the face of the franchise. Although the Cubs and Castro desire a quick resolution, the charges against Castro may require extra innings.
Exavier B. Pope, Esq. is an entertainment and sports attorney and sports business and law blogger for ChicagoNow. All opinions expressed are those solely of Mr. Pope.
(c) 2011, Exavier Pope
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