MINNEAPOLIS — A photographer accused Minnesota Twins star Miguel Sano on Thursday of assaulting her after a 2015 autograph session, saying he grabbed her wrist and tried to kiss her and pull her through a door.
Betsy Bissen said in a tweet that she screamed and resisted Sano until he gave up “after a solid 10 minutes of fighting.” Bissen, who works for publications including TwinsDaily, said she long feared that telling her story would cost her access to photograph Twins games.
Sano denied any assault occurred.
“I have the utmost respect for women, especially those working in professional sports,” Sano told TMZ. “I deeply sympathize with anyone who has experienced sexual harassment. There is no place for it in our society.”
The Twins said they learned of the allegation only Thursday. A team statement said the Twins and Major League Baseball “take these allegations very seriously” but had no further comment.
Bissen told her story via Twitter. She wrote that Sano was participating in an autograph signing at a store where she worked as a volunteer, and he commented that he had noticed her during games. She said he tried to flirt with her, and after the signing, decided he wanted to visit another store.
Bissen wrote that Sano grabbed her wrist and “made me go with” a small group that included Sano’s agent and a man she worked for. She said she did so only to avoid a scene.
As the group left the mall about a half hour later, she wrote, Sano said he needed to use the restroom. She said he tried to pull her through a door, and as she resisted, he repeatedly tried to kiss her.
She said she screamed and kept resisting Sano’s tugs until he gave up.
“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,” she wrote.
Bissen, who shared her tweet with the #metoo hashtag, said in a follow-up post that she wanted to “feel free of this burden I’ve carried with me since 2015.”
Bissen didn’t respond to an interview request from The Associated Press.
Sano made the American League All-Star team in 2017, but spent most of the second half of the season on the disabled list with a stress reaction in his left shin. He hit .264 with 28 homers and 77 RBI.