Sports snapper’s sex attack claims
A SPORTS photographer has joined the #metoo movement with a harrowing tale in which she alleges Major League Baseball star Miguel Sano assaulted her in an attempt at a sexual advance.
Betsy Bissen, a freelancer who takes photos for Twins Daily, said the Minnesota third baseman tried repeatedly to kiss her and attempted to forcibly take her into a room after an autograph signing in 2015.
Bissen said she successfully resisted his physical coercions but was left "sore all over" from having to fight him off.
In a statement, Sano "unequivocally" denied the allegations, which he said "never happened."
Bissen, in a tweet Thursday, said it was difficult to share the story, "but I feel I need to share it."
She had known Sano from shooting games at Target Field when the Twins cornerstone did a signing at a local store in a mall she volunteered at. She said he flirted with her throughout the event, advances that were not reciprocated.
After the signing, Sano, now 24 and from the Dominican Republic, wanted to go to a nearby Apple store. She said he grabbed her wrist and brought her, flanked by Sano's agent and Bissen's boss. Bissen did not want "to cause a scene," so she followed.
Later, the group went outside because Sano was leaving, but Bissen said Sano asked where the bathroom was. Bissen pointed the way, at which point Sano tried to force her to join him, she said.
"I pulled back as he held onto my wrist," Bissen wrote about the 193cm, 118kg Sano. "It hurt, how badly he was grasping at my wrist, but he wouldn't let go. I wasn't going to give up my fight though. He then leaned down and tried to kiss me, more than once. Every time he did, I said no and kept pulling back. I was in a squatted position with my wrist throbbing. I screamed, no one came to help me. He finally gave up after a solid ten mins of fighting to pull me thru that door. No, he didn't rape me, but he sure did assault me. When I said no, it should have been the end of it. He should have respected that and stopped. Instead, he hurt me and kept going."
Sano was not named until the concluding sentence. "Every time I have to hear about how great people think Miguel Sano is," she wrote, "I'm reminded of how awful he actually is and how he hurt me."
"I unequivocally deny the allegation made against me today - it never happened," Sano said. "I have the utmost respect for women, especially those working in professional sports, and I deeply sympathise with anyone who has experienced sexual harassment. There is no place for it in our society."
The Twins denied knowing about the account until Thursday.
"Today the Minnesota Twins were made aware of allegations involving Miguel Sano at an offsite appearance during the 2015 season," the team said in a statement.
"The Twins, along with Major League Baseball, take these allegations very seriously. Until more information is gathered, the Twins will have no further comment."
An MLB spokesman said the league is aware of the allegations and has begun looking into it.
The post also included allegations that an unnamed Twins first-base coach flirted "with me almost every game I was at. … [He] didn't bother me until he tried to ask for my phone number. A married man, around 20 years older than me."
"I'm so sorry about this," Trevor Plouffe, a former Twins player, wrote to her on Twitter. "I understand why you didn't, but I wish you would have come to me."