A photographer who often worked Twins games at Target Field on Thursday accused Twins third baseman Miguel Sano of sexual assault. Here is Betsy Bissen's statement, which she posted to Twitter:
Bissen's statement reads in full:
Let me start by saying, all I want from this, is to tell my story. You may believe me, you may not. I've been afraid to tell my story. Afraid that I wouldn't get the access to shoot baseball that I got before. Since Twins Daily has been stripped of most of their access, I now realize, I have nothing to lose by telling my story.
Every day new stories come out. More women come forward about their sexual assaults and rapes. When will it end? For those of us who have been thru a similar situation, hearing each of those stories is another reminder of what we went thru. Here's my story.
I've been a huge fan of baseball for the majority of my life, so naturally, I like doing sports photography and working autograph signings of Minnesota athletes. I've shot in the Twins camera well on many occasions, and this is where my story starts...it ends with working at an autograph signing.
He noticed me in the camera well. I didn't pay much attention to what they are doing in the dugout, unless I was looking for a shot. I like candid shots. Shots of the guys doing funny things, pregame rituals, etc. This year was different. It started off with the first base coach hitting on me almost every game I was at. I could ignore this. The first base coach didn't bother me until he tried to ask for my phone number. A married man, around 20 years older than me. I didn't oblige. This is the day though that I think the athlete noticed me and remembered me.
He was lined up to do an autograph signing at the store I volunteered at. He made a comment while we got our picture together that he had seen me during the games. During the signing, he kept trying to flirt with me (I didn't reciprocate). After the signing was over, he decided that he wanted to go to the Apple store before he left the mall. As him, his agent, and the guy I worked for walked away, he grabbed my wrist and made me go with them. (I didn't want to cause a scene, so I just went along). We spend around a half hour inside that store before it was time for him and his agent to leave. Their car was pulled around to a back hallway door. As we got outside, the athlete decided he needed to use the restroom. I asked my boss where it was and pointed to the door we just walked thru. Apparently I was too close, and the athlete took that as a signal that I wanted him to grab me and try to take me back thru that door.
I pulled back as he held onto my wrist. 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. I don't even want to think of what he may have done, had he got 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.
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.
It's not just the recaps of my fellow women who have been thru situations of their own that remind me of what happened, it's every baseball game, every write up about him that rehashes this. 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.
Some further context from Bissen:
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.— Betsy (@BitzyBetsy) December 28, 2017
Also of note is that Sano's name has been mentioned recently in trade rumors. Bissen, however, noted that the alleged assault took place three years prior and that the Twins were not previously aware of the incident.
The Twins in response to the allegations released the following statement:
Today the Minnesota Twins were made aware of allegations involving Miguel Sano at an offsite appearance during the 2015 season.
The Twins, along with Major League Baseball, take these allegations very seriously. Until more information is gathered, the Twins will have no further comment.
Per MLB Trade Rumors, Bissen says she would be willing to participate in any league investigation into the alleged assault. Since 2015, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has wide latitude to discipline players under the collectively-bargained Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy. Manfred's authority to discipline is not dependent on whether the player is convicted or pleads guilty to a crime. At this time, it's not known whether MLB will investigate Bissen's allegations against Sano.
Sano, 24, is set to enter his fourth season with the Twins.