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Former MLB All-Star Indicted on Charge of Child Sexual Assault

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Former MLB All-Star closer John Wetteland has been indicted on a charge of continuous sexual assault of a child younger than 14, KRLD-AM reported Thursday.

Wetteland was arrested in the Dallas area in January on charges that he repeatedly sexually abused a relative for a number of years, starting in 2004 when the child was 4 years old.

According to the victim, the abuse occurred at least three times over a two-year period at Wetteland’s home in Bartonville, Texas.

Wetteland, who posted a $25,000 bond in January, now faces a first-degree felony charge that carries a jail sentence of 25 years to life if he’s convicted.

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After the January arrest, one of Wetteland’s children said in a Facebook post that the allegations were not true and would be disproven in court, according to The Dallas Morning News.

Wetteland’s ex-wife declined to comment on the situation, according to The Morning News. The couple divorced in 2015.

Wetteland was a three-time All-Star who finished his career with 330 saves, which ranked seventh all-time at the time of his 2000 retirement.

He is best-known for his two-year stint with the New York Yankees in the mid-1990s and his time with the Texas Rangers after that.

Wetteland was the Yankees’ closer prior to Mariano Rivera taking the job, and he won the 1996 World Series MVP after notching saves in all four of New York’s victories.

In just four years with the Rangers, Wetteland became the franchise’s all-time leader in saves and still holds that record. He was inducted into the Rangers Hall of Fame in 2005.

Wetteland went into coaching after his playing career ended but was mired in controversy at both of his MLB stops.

He was fired from his role as Nationals’ bullpen coach in 2006 after what manager Frank Robinson called a “long line of transgressions and insubordination.”

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“They seem to focus a little bit more on practical jokes and fooling around out there in the bullpen rather than focusing and concentrating on the game, and keeping their minds focused to what they would have to do when they came into the ballgame to get people out,” Robinson said.

“I just couldn’t put up with it anymore,” he said. “I talked to John on a number of occasions and told him flat-out what I needed and how I wanted things done. He just didn’t seem to understand.”

Then later as the bullpen coach with the Seattle Mariners in 2009, Wetteland was taken to the hospital after a woman reportedly told authorities “he was complaining of being depressed and contemplating suicide.” However, the Mariners and Wetteland said he was hospitalized for “elevated blood pressure and heart rate.”

In between those MLB coaching stints, Wetteland was a high school coach and teacher at Liberty Christian School in Argyle, Texas.

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Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
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