TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -Troubled Tampa Bay Devil Rays outfielder Elijah Dukes could face up to one year in jail on a charge of violating a protective court order his estranged wife obtained after she said the 23-year-old rookie threatened her and the couple's children.
Dukes, whose problems off the field led the Devil Rays to put him on a temporary inactive list in June, is prohibited from contacting NiShea Gilbert for one year under terms of a restraining order obtained in Hillsborough Circuit Court.
Gilbert, who has filed for divorce, told a sheriff's deputy that Dukes violated the order by telephoning her on July 21 and asking to speak to the children. She also said she received calls the following day from a woman believed to be affiliated with the player.
Dukes, who is receiving his major league salary of $380,000 while on the inactive list, was charged Thursday with one count of violating the protective order. The first-degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in jail.
Gilbert sought court protection in May after revealing she received a threatening message on her cell phone, as well as a text message containing a picture of a handgun. She also said Dukes threatened her at the middle school where she's a teacher.
The Devil Rays optioned Dukes to the minor leagues in concert with putting him on the inactive list on June 23, a move the team said would give him time away from the game to try to straighten out his personal life.
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