Torii Hunter joins son in Dallas

Updated: May 18, 2012, 2:26 PM ET
By Mark Saxon | ESPNLosAngeles.com

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Los Angeles Angels outfielder Torii Hunter joined his son, Darius, and the family's lawyers at a Dallas-area news conference on Thursday to refute charges that his son committed sexual assault on a juvenile.

According to the family's attorney, who announced he has a secretly recorded conversation of the alleged victim recanting her testimony, it might be a while before the Angels get their right fielder back.

"As far as we know, it's Torii's decision to stay until this matter reaches a point where it's resolved or under control," attorney Todd Shapiro said. "He reiterated that he's a father first and baseball, as important as it is to him, is second."

Darius Hunter, 17, is charged with sexually assaulting a child, a second-degree felony. He was arrested Monday along with three juveniles and another 17-year-old, Garrick White. Shapiro said the alleged victim called a family friend of the Hunters to say she was not sexually assaulted by Darius Hunter during the incident, which allegedly took place in a closet at a Prosper, Texas, home last month.

Shapiro told reporters that a recording was made Wednesday of a conversation between the girl and a teenage friend of the Hunter family. On the call, she backs away from the story that led police in the Dallas suburb of Prosper to arrest Darius Hunter on Monday, the attorney said.

"The alleged victim has done a complete 180 turn," Shapiro said.

Shapiro said the teenage girl can be heard on the tape saying no sex occurred, forced or otherwise.

"It just could not be more clear," he said.

Shapiro said the call was recorded by a teen who is close to Darius Hunter and his two brothers. The attorney called the youth "an extraordinary young man who had the foresight and wisdom to record the call."

Phone calls can be legally taped in Texas with one party's consent.

Shapiro said the alleged victim initiated the call. Two conversations, separated by minutes, occurred, he said.

"She reached out to him to, we believe, set the record straight," Shapiro said.

The attorney said he will not release the tape publicly but will turn it over to authorities.

The Collin County district attorney's office did not immediately return a phone call from ESPNLosAngeles.com seeking comment.

The Angels left Thursday evening on a 10-game road trip without any idea when they will get their starting right fielder back. Hunter, 36, is batting .256 with five home runs and 15 RBIs.

"From today, I don't think it's going to be weeks," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's going to get whatever time he needs to feel comfortable enough to come back and play baseball."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Mark Saxon

ESPNLosAngeles.com
Mark Saxon is a staff writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com. He spent six years at the Orange County Register, and began his career at the Oakland Tribune, where he started an 11-year journey covering Major League Baseball. He has also covered colleges, including USC football and UCLA basketball.

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