Exonerated: Rape charges dropped against two former Asheville Tourist players

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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Ashvegas: The City You Love. The News You Want.Buncombe County District Attorney Todd Williams announced Monday that he has dropped first-degree rape charges against two former Asheville Tourist players who were charged a year and a half ago. Michael Ryan Mason and Jesse Meaux, relief pitchers who were 23 in July 2013 when they were charged, have been cleared of any wrongdoing.

Williams issued the following statement Monday:

The District Attorney’s Office must often make hard choices. The Asheville Tourists cases were first charged in August of 2013. These cases were passed by the former administration to my office for review on January 1, 2015. Upon completion of my review of these cases, in my discretion, I have elected to dismiss the charges filed against the Asheville Tourists defendants. Out of respect for the privacy of all involved I cannot comment further.

It was Bele Chere weekend when Mason and Meaux were alleged to have raped a woman at an apartment the two men shared. They were charged a week after the alleged incident. The case has lingered since.

Asheville defense attorney Al Messer, who represented Meaux, said Monday that his client “was adamaent from the beginning that he did nothing wrong.” The case lingered, though, and Messer said he and Meaux prepared to fight the charges at trial.

“We don’t know why it took as long as it did, but the new administration came along, did their own independent review and came to their conclusion that it wasn’t appropriate for prosecution,” said Messer, referring to the November election of Williams as district attorney. Williams replaced long-serving former District Attorney Ron Moore.

“We agree with that decision,” Messer continued. “He just wants the case to go away.” Messer said Meaux now lives in California, and “his baseball career is most likely over.”

Asheville defense attorney Steve Lindsay, who represented Mason in the case, said the two men cooperated fully with the investigation said he was glad to see the charges dismissed. “The charges should have been dismissed a long time ago,” Lindsay said.

“We are thankful for the result,” Lindsay added. “Unfortunately, there are some devastating consequences.”

“This is a guy whose dream was to play professional baseball, and he has probably lost his baseball career forever,” Lindsay said.

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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  1. indie499 April 15, 2015

    It is pathetic that we are only in 5th place, given our 320 million population.

    If elected, I promise to produce the following:

    1. Faster horses
    2. Younger women
    3. Older whiskey
    4. More $
    5. Quicker, numerous and public executions

    1. Harry April 15, 2015

      I’m not a big horse guy, but the rest of the platform secured my vote. Hang ’em high Indie!

  2. jill martin April 15, 2015

    the headline uses the word “exonerated,” though the d.a. was very neutral in his response.

  3. Henry April 14, 2015

    Interesting to see that Todd Williams donor, Al Messer, got his client’s rape charges dropped.

    There’s also a Stephen Lindsay who gave to Todd, not sure if it’s the same guy.

    Donation Record on Pages 1 and 15 of the Contribution Report: http://app.ncsbe.gov/webapps/cf_rpt_search_org/cf_report_image.aspx?DID=179045

    Al Messer again, Page 2 of the Contributions Report: http://app.ncsbe.gov/webapps/cf_rpt_search_org/cf_report_image.aspx?DID=175604

    All speculation, but if this is a one time thing, no one will remember in four years. If it’s not, he might lose the support of the police community heading into a future election.

    Unless, of course, this is another part of the fracturing between the progressives and police forces which has been occurring for some time now.

  4. Unaffiliated Voter April 14, 2015

    the bigger decision yet to come is whether DA will call for the death penalty for the Codds’ murderer, Jason Owens … bigger litmus test of what we have there…

    1. Harry April 14, 2015

      I would be shocked if he did. The death penalty doesn’t square with the progressive Utopia. We can warehouse them for life cheaper than we can kill them.

      1. johnnynemo April 14, 2015

        It’s comforting to know that we have a firm conservative base here who would never rush to judgment on political, social or criminal issues. They always have all the fair and balanced facts before commenting.

        1. Harry April 14, 2015

          Don’t be a dope. “I would be shocked if he did” implies my subjective opinion. And it’s no secret that progressives hate the death penalty.

          1. Barry Summers April 14, 2015

            “it’s no secret that progressives hate the death penalty”

            As do 82% of the countries in the world.

            America is #6 in the number of people put to death by the State (2013), after The People’s Republic of China, North Korea, Iran, Iraq, and our good friends the Kingdom of Saud. Great crowd we run with…

            At least we’re barely staying ahead of those bastions of civilization, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. But that’s probably just because of sheer population, not greater zeal. Damn.


          2. Harry April 14, 2015

            Like I said Summers, some crimes are so heinous that they must be paid for with one’s life. Two things we could do to improve the death penalty in the U.S. Extend the penalty to pedophiles. And, carry out the sentences in public. THAT’S a deterrent.

          3. Tim Peck April 15, 2015

            “As do 82% of the countries in the world.”

            And the today’s logical fallacy IS . . .

            Argumentum ad Populum.

          4. Barry Summers April 15, 2015

            What’s the name for the logical fallacy of pulling one line out of an argument, pretending the rest didn’t exist, and then claiming that the entire argument is false?

            It’s not just the majority of peoples on the planet that have rejected the death penalty, it’s the nature of the dwindling number of countries that still practice it.

            The list of countries still executing their own citizens, ranked according to the number executed in 2013:

            1 People’s Republic of China
            2 North Korea
            2 Iran
            3 Iraq
            4 Saudi Arabia
            5 United States
            7 Somalia
            8 Sudan
            9 Yemen
            10 Japan
            11 Vietnam
            12 Taiwan
            13 Indonesia
            14 Kuwait
            15 South Sudan
            16 Nigeria
            17 Palestine
            18 Malaysia
            19 Afghanistan
            20 Bangladesh
            21 Botswana
            22 India

            How many of those countries share the language, values, standard of living, and/or predominant religions of the United States? None. All of our peers in the world community have ended the barbaric practice of the death penalty. And the few that are left are increasingly a club we shouldn’t want to belong to. That’s an argument distinct from mere numbers.

          5. luther blissett April 15, 2015

            That’s a new twist from Mouthpiece: libertarians for state-mandated killing done by government bureaucrats. Expecting coherence is probably too much from him.

            It’s all symbolic BS anyway: NC hasn’t executed a prisoner since 2006, and were the moratorium to end, the state would face the same problems as others in obtaining drugs, given how pharmaceutical companies don’t want to be associated with the machinery of death.

            “Extend the penalty to pedophiles.”

            If you truly believe that punishments actively influence the most serious crimes, then that’s the kind of deterrent more likely to encourage pedophiles to murder their victims. Some people are so motivated by medieval bloodlust that they really don’t think stuff through.

          6. Harry April 15, 2015

            I don’t give 2 shitz what the rest of the world’s doing. As long as the majority of my fellow Americans see it my way (and they do), then it’s all good.

      2. indie499 April 15, 2015

        Execution does reduce recidivism 9 times out of 10.

        1. RobotDanceMonkey1975 April 15, 2015

          True, executed criminals sometimes become a “Poltergeist” which is an even worse problem.

  5. Other Scott April 13, 2015

    Well this is all a very comforting comment section so far. District attorney concludes there isn’t enough of a case to charge someone with rape, and the immediate reaction is “Well why not? We wanted to convict them anyway!” Class act, guys…

    1. Harry April 13, 2015

      Agree 100%. Haven’t we learned anything from recent false rape claims?

    2. ashevillain April 14, 2015

      The words in between your quotes appear absolutely nowhere in the comments section.

      1. Other Scott April 14, 2015

        “A dropped hot potato is still hot…”
        “I’m not sure exonerated is the word I would use…”

        Well what word would you use? You are *innocent* until proven guilty. That is how justice works in this country. These guys are no more guilty of rape than you or I are, and yet the attitude is one of “Well…maybe the *court* doesn’t think they’re guilty…but they can’t stop us from thinking they are.”

        Which is true, you can’t legislate public opinion, but the ethical approach is to give people the benefit of doubt. If a DA doesn’t believe there’s even enough there to bother taking something to trial, then there’s very likely nothing there.

  6. RobotDanceMonkey1975 April 13, 2015

    Dropped doesn’t mean “innocent.” A dropped “hot potato” is still “hot.”

    1. Tim Peck April 14, 2015

      Interesting peek inside the progressive mind: guilty until proven falsely accused by criminal female and then, still guilty, if not moreso.

      I guess it’s all about the ‘larger truth.’

      1. Stellasue3 April 14, 2015

        Know the accuser. Quite offensive using such a description not knowing anything about the person, or really the details of the case.

        1. Tim Peck April 14, 2015

          Shouldn’t the accuser be charged?

          1. Stellasue3 April 15, 2015

            Excuse me?

  7. mojobear April 13, 2015


    1. Jason Sandford April 13, 2015

      “why” what? …

  8. ashevillain April 13, 2015

    Not sure if “exonerated” is the word I’d use here.

    1. indie499 April 14, 2015

      Could just go by what the DA said—-he dismissed the charges, a fairly neutral comment. He didn’t exonerate anyone, nor did he say there wasn’t enough evidence to convict, which would have implied guilt.


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