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Peruvian International Andy Polo Found Liable For Domestic Violence

Andy Polo of Universitario celebrates his goal during Liga 1 Profesional Peru match between Alianza Lima and Universitario at Estadio Nacional de Lima on February 10, 2024 in Lima, Peru.
Martín Fonseca/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

Two people representing the Portland Timbers showed up at Génessis Alarcón's home back in May of 2021. They were there because law enforcement had been there, too, after a friend of Alarcón's called 911 and said that Alarcón's husband, then-Timbers player Andy Polo, was hitting his wife. The day of that 911 call, a sheriff's deputy went to Alarcón's home—and so did two Timbers representatives, according to law enforcement records; first Gabriel Jaimes, the team's then-manager of player affairs (who is still with the team, but in a different role), and later head of security Jim McCausland.

McCausland told deputies, per an incident report obtained by The Oregonian, "he would make sure that peace would be maintained inside the house."

About two weeks later, Alarcón later told ESPN, two more Timbers representatives came to talk with her. This time it was McCausland and a lawyer working for the team, Christine Mascal. In audio recorded by Alarcón, and first reported by The Nation, Mascal advised Alarcón not to pursue a legal case.

"If it goes to court, if you want to pursue it, there would be a trial … do you know what a trial is?" Mascal asked. "Do you watch any TV shows where they have trials, like that? That’s kind of what that’s like.”

Alarcón did not take Mascal's advice. She got a lawyer, she talked to reporters, both here in the United States and in Polo's home country of Peru, and, though law enforcement declined to pursue a criminal case, she filed a lawsuit in Oregon civil court against Polo and Peregrine Sports LLC, the holding company for the Timbers. The Timbers settled with Alarcón, but Polo did not. That case went to trial, and last week a jury found Polo liable for assault and battery. The jury also awarded Alarcón $600,000 in damages.

Why did Alarcón go ahead with her case? Her attorney, Michael Fuller, said for her it was about pushing back against all the denials that Polo had made.

"Andy Polo had called her a liar in the media repeatedly," Fuller said. "He had attempted to discredit her story publicly in the media, repeatedly. He denied all wrongdoing, repeatedly, in the media."

In her lawsuit, filed in March of 2022, Alarcón said on May 23, 2021, Polo grabbed her by the arm, pulled her by her hair, and pushed her to the floor while their two children were home. A Washington County sheriff's deputy who went to the home wrote in a report that Alarcón looked "frantic, scared and stressed" when he arrived. While the deputy was still there, both Jaimes and McCausland showed up and assured the deputy that "no further incidents would take place."

The deputy wrote Polo a citation for harassment—offensive physical contact, a misdemeanor. Prosecutors did not pursue the case.

Alarcón's lawsuit also talked about the Timbers representatives who showed up and, though they are not named, according to the complaint they "expressly assumed the responsibility and duty to maintain peace between Mr. Polo and Ms. Alarcón inside the household moving forward."

Except abuse did continue in the home, the suit said, causing Alarcón "continued pain and discomfort and significant emotional harm."

An investigation done for MLS by the law firm Proskauer Rose, which had done work for the league in the past, found that the Timbers had failed to report the 911 call and subsequent investigation to the league office. For that, MLS fined the team $25,000. The Timbers settled with Alarcón within a month of her filing her lawsuit.

Polo did not settle. Instead, the legal battle dragged on for close to two years. At the trial, Fuller said, Alarcón's friend who called 911 testified. Alarcón testified too, remotely.

As for Polo, who represented himself, Fuller said he called into the trial remotely, repeatedly told the court that he had not been properly notified about the trial, and also claimed violations of his due process. Multnomah County Circuit Judge Thomas M. Ryan eventually asked Polo to stop speaking, Fuller said, but Polo continued, so Ryan muted Polo's microphone. Later, Fuller said, Polo hung up. He would not testify.

"We had photos, audio recording, police reports, witnesses who testified ... but he showed his true colors in front of the jury for the limited time they got to encounter it," Fuller said.

A representative of Polo's told The Oregonian that his client was planning his next steps.

After what happened in May of 2021 became public—because Alarcón spoke up about it on the Peruvian TV show Magaly TV, La Firme—the Timbers suspended, then cut Polo, who currently plays for Universitario in Peru. Fuller said it was unlikely that Alarcón would be able to collect the settlement as long as Polo stayed there. That could change if Polo, who has started for Peru in multiple World Cup qualifying matches this year, travels to the U.S. for this summer's Copa América with the Peruvian squad. But for Alarcón, Fuller said, the case was about much more than just a possible settlement.

"Our sole purpose was not just to collect money from him. It was to prove what he did and to prove to him ... this wasn't a problem that would just go away," Fuller said. "He would be held to account for his behavior."

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