November 10, 2014 / 7:38 PM / 4 years ago

No domestic abuse charges to be filed against NFL's McDonald

(Reuters) - San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald will not be charged with assaulting his pregnant fiancée, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office said on Monday.

Sep 14, 2014; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive end Ray McDonald (91) looks on during the second quarter of the game against the Chicago Bears at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The decision ended a nearly 10-week investigation of the eight-year National Football League veteran by San Jose, California, detectives and prosecutors.

“After our thorough review of all the facts, we do not have evidence sufficient to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. McDonald committed a crime,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement.

Both the 49ers and the NFL declined to suspend McDonald during the police investigation into the Aug. 31 incident, deciding to let the legal process play out. The incident occurred while McDonald was celebrating his 30th birthday at his home with teammates and friends.

“I appreciate the seriousness of the situation and I understand and respect that law enforcement had a job to do, which is why I cooperated fully with their investigation from beginning to end,” McDonald said in a statement.

“I am relieved that the DA’s office has rightfully decided not to file charges.”

Conflicting accounts of the incident, the lack of “verifiable” eyewitnesses and the “seemingly minor nature” of the injuries led to the decision not to file charges, Rosen said.

“We have said from the beginning that we will consider the information available, allow the facts to lead to our decisions and respect the judicial process,” the 49ers said in a statement.

“Based on the information available to us and the District Attorney’s decision not to file charges, there will be no change in Ray’s status with the team.”

The NFL has come under fire in recent months over a perception it deals too lightly with players accused of domestic violence. The league has since strengthened its policies in dealing with such cases.

Ray Rice was cut by the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL after video emerged of him punching his then-fiancée in an Atlantic City casino hotel elevator.

Former NFL Most Valuable Player Adrian Peterson pleaded no contest last week to a misdemeanor charge of reckless assault for hitting his 4-year-old son with a tree branch.

The Rice case is being reviewed by an independent arbitrator, while the league is deciding whether to allow Peterson to return to the Minnesota Vikings.

Reporting by Steve Ginsburg in Washington; Editing by Jim Loney and Peter Cooney

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