Chicago Cubs Starlin Castro Sexual Assault Accusations: 3 Legal Steps to Consider First

Chicago Cubs Starlin Castro Sexual Assault Accusations: 3 Legal Steps to Consider First
Starlin Castro has plenty to think about in the coming days.

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.


Bottom Line

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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  • It sounds like what is in the rape kit controls. As you imply, it isn't consent if the victim was out cold drunk.

    Of course, if there is nothing in the rape kit, proving deviate sexual assault, including the requisite sexual penetration, is going to be a lot tougher, especially if the victim was out cold drunk.

  • There is one significant mistake in this run down. It has been widely reported that Castro was already scheduled to leave for the Dominican Republic on the following day as the season was over so unless the police can prove he knew they wanted to talk to him this is not remotely evidence of suspicious behavior, moreover Castro returned to Chicago briefly in Nov. to discuss his contract status and it seems unlikely the Cubs would not have told the police this had they been informed the police wanted to question him.

  • In reply to JR31:

    JR31, thanks for your input. The season did indeed end just before. Whether Castro was scheduled to leave for the Dominican Republic could be potentially revealed to authorities during an investigation. Authorities would not be able to rely on it being "widely reported". Authorities would look into whether it was truly planned or not.

  • In reply to Exavier Pope:

    However he DID return to Chicago in Nov. If they were looking to question him why were they not aware of that? Between the date of the allegation and roughly six weeks later they made no attempt to contact him , his lawyer or the Cubs? At the very least the fact that he returned to Chicago would show that he personally was not avoiding the police and was likely unaware they were looking for him. The last part is certainly something the police know. I am not taking a position on the charges but I do not believe Castro was fleeing which would be a major strike against him.

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