TORONTO – The assault charge against Roberto Osuna was withdrawn Tuesday after the Houston Astros closer agreed to a peace bond, with the Crown telling the court there was no “reasonable prospect” of conviction after the complainant said she wouldn’t testify in the case.
Under terms of his recognizance, the 23-year-old must keep the peace and be of good behavior; to have no contact with the complainant, Alejandra Roman Cota, without her written consent to be filed with a detective in the Toronto police department’s 14 Division; and to continue counselling.
Should he fail to meet those conditions, he’d face criminal charges that carry a maximum sentence of up to four years imprisonment.
A peace bond is not an admission of guilt, and Osuna’s lawyer, Domenic Basile, told the court that his client was making no admission of criminal or civil responsibility in the matter by entering into the agreement.
Neither Osuna nor Basile commented after leaving the court, but the Astros released statements on their behalf shortly afterwards.
“I am pleased and relieved by today’s court decision,” Osuna said in his statement. “Now I can begin to put these allegations behind me and focus on baseball. I want to thank my family, teammates and fans for believing in me. I am grateful to the Astros for providing me with the opportunity to play baseball and compete for a World Series championship.
“I will make no further comments about this matter, as I plan on moving past this and look only to the future.”
Hours later, he took the field at Rogers Centre to record a second straight save against his former teammates in a 4-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays, pitching through another round of relentless boos. The win, No. 100 on the season, pushed Houston’s magic number to clinch the AL West down to one.
Taking baseball questions only after the game while speaking through Astros interpreter Oz Ocampo, Osuna said he was unbothered by the negative fan reaction.
“When I came into the game I was focused on what I had to do,” he said. “It’s something that didn’t affect me.”
Asked about how he felt returning to Toronto, he replied: “Very happy to see my old teammates again and also to come back to the city where I started my career.”
His message to Blue Jays fans?
“I just want to thank the fans, the fans that have supported me during this time.”
Earlier in the day, Catherine Mullaly, the Crown prosecutor, told Judge Melvyn Green she and the detective in the matter had spoken on the phone with Roman Cota, with whom Osuna has a three-year-old son and is currently in Mexico, where she resides with her family and the child.
During that conversation, Roman Cota said she wanted to resume contact and parenting responsibilities with Osuna, had no fear for her safety and would not return to Toronto to testify if a trial date was set.
Since a subpoena is unenforceable outside of Canada, Mullaly concluded that the Crown didn’t have a “reasonable prospect” for conviction absent her testimony, leading to the peace bond.
“She’s a citizen of Mexico and intends to stay in Mexico and not return to Toronto,” Mullaly told reporters outside the court afterwards.
Osuna, making his first court appearance at Old City Hall in the six times his case has been before the court, wore a dark blue sit and blue tie and sat with the same stone-faced expression so familiar when he takes the mound.
Green spoke only briefly to Osuna, saying he was confident Osuna would comply with the peace bond and wished the best to all parties in the matter.
Osuna nodded his head and thanked the judge.
Osuna was arrested May 8 while he was still with the Blue Jays, who traded the former all-star July 30, about a month after Major League Baseball issued him a 75-game suspension for violating its joint domestic violence policy.
The punishment was the third longest ever handed out under the program.
In a statement, the Astros said they looked forward to Osuna “continuing his commitment to be a productive and caring part of our community. The Astros remain committed to increase our support regarding the issues of domestic violence and abuse of any kind. We have engaged with a number of local, state and national organizations – and we look forward to working with them in the short term and over the long term.”