No Charges Filed Against Benitez

Friday, February 16th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) — Armando Benitez is starting spring training without any worries or legal problems.

For the second time in as many months, prosecutors said Thursday they will not file criminal charges against the New York Mets closer, accused by his former girlfriend of attacking her.

An investigation determined there was ``an insufficient legal basis on which to proceed with a criminal prosecution,'' said Mary DeBourbon, spokeswoman for Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

``Obviously, we're pleased with the results,'' Mets general manager Steve Phillips said in Port St. Lucie, Fla., where the team opens spring training Friday.

Phillips said he hoped it was ``a chapter closed and one, hopefully, we can put behind and move forward fresh.''

Stacey O'Neill, Benitez's former girlfriend, filed a complaint on Jan. 3. She said the pitcher punched her and left her neck with a scar from a scratch on Oct. 18, an off day between the NL championship series and the World Series.

In the police report, O'Neill said she did not alert police at the time because she was afraid of Benitez.

Brown's office said that in a letter dated Feb. 6, ``the young woman who filed the original complaint requested that this office not prosecute charges.''

Last month, Baltimore prosecutors announced that a domestic abuse case filed against Benitez by O'Neill had been dismissed, citing insufficient evidence. O'Neill had filed a complaint against Benitez in December saying he slammed a door against her during an argument on Nov. 8.

Notes: The Mets replaced Dr. David Altcheck of the Hospital for Special Surgery, their team physician since December 1991, with Dr. Andrew Rokito of the Hospital for Joint Diseases and NYU Hospitals Centers, which became the ``official hospitals'' of the Mets. It appeared the move had more to do with money than medicine. ``We feel that we have a stronger business relationship with this deal as well as maintaining the high quality of care for our players,'' Phillips said. ``There was no lack of quality care given by David Altcheck.'' Dr. Orrin Sherman becomes the Mets' associate team physician.