Grand jury indicts former 49er Ray McDonald on rape charge

Associated Press

August 27, 2015

In this Sept. 7, 2014, file photo, San Francisco 49ers' Ray McDonald sits on the bench during the second half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas. A Santa Clara County grand jury has indicted former 49ers defensive lineman McDonald on one count of rape of an intoxicated person. The announcement came Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, with the indictment stemming from an incident last Dec. 15 at McDonald's home.

SAN FRANCISCO — A Santa Clara County grand jury indicted former San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald on one count of rape of an intoxicated person.

The announcement came Wednesday, with the indictment stemming from an incident Dec. 15 at McDonald's home.

Current 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks also has been charged by the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office with misdemeanor sexual battery for an alleged assault the same day involving the same victim. The case against Brooks also was announced Wednesday.

The 49ers sent Brooks home from Colorado, where they are holding joint practices with the Broncos before playing a preseason game against Denver on Saturday night.

"The organization is aware that a misdemeanor charge has been filed against Ahmad Brooks stemming from a December 2014 matter. We take any charge against a member of this organization seriously and are in communication with the NFL," 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement released by the team.

McDonald is scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 25. He faces a maximum of eight years in prison.

Brooks faces a maximum of six months in jail. His arraignment hadn't been scheduled.

Messages left for McDonald's attorney and Brooks' agent Wednesday weren't immediately returned Wednesday.

In a civil lawsuit filed in May against both men, a woman accused Brooks of groping her while she was unconscious at McDonald's home.

The woman said she slipped and fell on a pool deck at McDonald's house in December 2014 and continued to fall after that due to her initial head injury and alcohol consumption. McDonald initially thought she was dead, but did not call 911, telling others he didn't want a dead female found on his property, according to the suit.

At some point, Brooks groped her before McDonald carried her upstairs to his bedroom and sexually assaulted her, the lawsuit claimed.

Also Wednesday, the grand jury indicted McDonald for a May 27 violation of a restraining order stemming from an incident two days earlier involving a different woman. In that incident, he was arrested after allegedly breaking down a bedroom door to get to his former fiancée and their infant.

The district attorney's office plans to dismiss that criminal complaint, it said, but could re-evaluate if more information becomes available. McDonald was released by the Chicago Bears following the May 25 arrest after they had signed him in March to a one-year contract.

McDonald, an eight-year NFL veteran who turns 31 on Sept. 2, was indicted Wednesday about a year after another incident while celebrating his 30th birthday.

Then, he and his then-pregnant fiancee got into a fight after a woman attending the party told her some women were getting too friendly with McDonald. McDonald's former fiancee, who was sleeping upstairs, came down and confronted him, according to a prosecutors' office memo.

Following the arrest, 49ers CEO Jed York, Baalke and then-coach Jim Harbaugh repeatedly said they have zero tolerance for domestic violence, but rather than bench McDonald they agreed to let "due process" play out before making a decision about his future with the team.

In December, the Niners parted ways with McDonald, who had been a key member of one of the NFL's fiercest front seven units.

Brooks, 31, had his own problems last year and his status was uncertain going into the offseason, but had begun training camp with a new outlook and was back in shape thanks to a rigorous offseason routine.

He had started 60 straight games under fourth-year coach Harbaugh before being benched for a 24-13 loss at Oakland because he missed a team meeting. Brooks said after the game he inadvertently missed a morning defensive meeting Dec. 2 but showed up an hour later for a second meeting focused on domestic violence. Then defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said Brooks also arrived 20 minutes late to a Dec. 3 meeting, and the coach didn't know why.

Brooks later apologized.

He also was benched Nov. 16 for the second half of a 16-10 road win against the Giants for heated words he directed at defensive line coach Jim Tomsula — now the Niners' head coach — in the second quarter.

"We've been clearing (it up). That issue wasn't even a big issue," Brooks said Tuesday in an interview with The Associated Press. "It was a big issue because people made it out to be. I was in the wrong. He accepted my apology and we're cool."

Brooks said he was ready for a fresh start. He has turned to a healthier diet — he said he had cut out drinking alcohol recently — and had returned a lower playing weight that was closer to his goal weight.

"My weight has been kind of a problem. That's probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, stay on a diet," he said.