A woman has come forward to accuse Minnesota Twins third baseman Miguel Sano of sexual assault.
Betsy Bissen, a photographer for the Twins Daily ― a website devoted to the baseball team ― said that at a mall in 2015, Sano tried to kiss her and force her into a bathroom. She said they struggled for 10 minutes as she tried to escape.
Bissen made the accusations Thursday in a widely shared Twitter post, claiming the assault occurred after the two encountered one another at a store where Sano was signing autographs. Bissen said she was a volunteer at the store.
Bissen said that after the signing session ended, Sano decided he wanted to go to an Apple outlet at the mall. As Sano, his agent and the man who ran the store she worked at walked away, she said, the baseball player “grabbed my wrist and made me go with them.” She said she did so because she “didn’t want to cause a scene.”
It was about 30 minutes later, Bissen said, that Sano accosted her. He had exited the mall but come back into use the bathroom, she said. As she pointed him toward the restroom, he grabbed her, she said.
“I pulled back as he held onto my wrist,” Bissen said. “It hurt, how badly he was grasping at my wrist, but he wouldn’t let go.”
“He then leaned down and tried to kiss me, more than once,” she said. “Every time he did, I said no and kept pulling back.”
She said Sano “finally gave up” after 10 minutes “of fighting to pull me thru [sic] that door.”
“I screamed, no one came to help me,” she said of the ordeal. “I don’t even want to think of what he may have done, had he got me thru [sic] that door.”
“The next day, my body was sore all over from having to fight off this athlete that thought he was entitled to take advantage of me against my will,” she said.
Bissen referred to her alleged assailant as “the athlete” throughout her post, until its last sentence. Her ending said: “Every time I have to hear about how great people think Miguel Sano is, I’m reminded of how awful he actually is and how he hurt me.”
In a separate Twitter post, Bissen said, “I want nothing more than to feel free of this burden I’ve carried with me since 2015. I have NOTHING to gain from this. It’s been hard enough for me to come forward knowing there would be backlash, but it was time.”
Sano, in a statement reported by TMZ Sports, said the alleged assault “never happened.”
“I unequivocally deny the allegation made against me,” he said, according to the news outlet.
The Twins said in a statement that the team takes the allegations “very seriously.” The team added it wouldn’t comment further “until more information is gathered.”
Major League Baseball officials “are aware of the allegations and are now in the process of looking into it,” a league spokesman said in a statement. The Twins said they were aware of the allegations and are taking them “very seriously,” a spokesman said in a statement provided to HuffPost.
Sano, 24, made his major league debut with the Twins in mid-2015. This past season, he was selected to the American League All-Star team. He also participated in the home run derby that is part of the All-Star game’s festivities.