Twins' Pavano target of extortion
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- A high school classmate of Minnesota Twins pitcher Carl Pavano threatened to reveal an alleged homosexual relationship they had and to write a book about it unless Pavano apologized to him and bought him a navy Range Rover SUV with tan leather, according to a search warrant affidavit filed by police in Connecticut.
Police in Pavano's hometown of Southington, about 18 miles southwest of Hartford, said in the affidavit that they began investigating the allegations after Pavano's sister, Michelle DeGennaro, complained in December that she had received several troublesome Facebook messages from the classmate, Christian Bedard. DeGennaro told police that Bedard made up a bogus story about having a relationship with her brother in an attempt to extort her family.
Officers executed the search warrant at Bedard's home on March 21 and seized items, but wouldn't say what they were. Bedard said on his Facebook page that police took his laptop computer, material relating to his relationship with Pavano and the book he was writing. Bedard hasn't been charged.
The search warrant affidavit, first reported by the Record-Journal of Meriden, includes copies of several Facebook messages Bedard allegedly sent to DeGennaro. In the messages, Bedard said Pavano was his "first love" and they had a three-year relationship when they were teenagers growing up in Southington, the affidavit says.
"I have serious juicy book offers ... to the point that the only way your brother is getting out of this ... is with a heartfelt apology and a navy range rover with tan leather," Bedard allegedly wrote to DeGennaro, according to police. "If I'm going to drop a 1.2 million dollar book deal I want something.
"That is my best offer an apology and a land rover and I'll kill the project," Bedard wrote referring to the book deal, according to the affidavit. Bedard told The Associated Press in a statement that he wanted an apology because of how Pavano treated him at the end of their relationship. He didn't elaborate.
Bedard, a 36-year-old real estate agent, later rescinded his offer to DeGennaro in another message, police said.
"I'm up to 5 depositions of friends who I trusted with the secret of carl and I's relationship," Bedard wrote, according to the affidavit. "Then I called my attorney ... the book is the best deal."
DeGennaro told police that Bedard also demanded that Pavano pay a substantial amount of money to him or he would reveal personal information about Pavano to the media. DeGennaro didn't return messages left by The Associated Press on Thursday.
Pavano couldn't be reached for comment. He wasn't with the Twins on Thursday as the team prepared to play the Pirates in a spring training game in Florida. His agent, Tom O'Connell, didn't return a phone message.
Pavano has been with the Twins since 2009, after a season with Cleveland and three with the Yankees, and is scheduled to start opening day on April 6 in Baltimore.
Bedard also didn't return messages on Thursday but emailed a statement to the AP.
"I have been openly gay for most of my adult life," the statement said. "For years, my physical high school relationship with Carl Pavano has been well-known to my close friends and family. Carl Pavano's sister, Michelle DeGennaro, contacted me on Facebook asking under what conditions would I not talk about my relationship with Carl."
Bedard said he responded to her that he wanted an apology, and said his comments about wanting a Range Rover were made "in jest."
"I did not attempt to extort money from Carl Pavano," Bedard said. "I have not been charged with any crime. I will allow my local police department to conclude their investigation and I will have no further comment."
Police say the home they searched last week is owned by Bedard's mother, Elaine Bedard, who is a member of the town's police commission. Sgt. Lowell DePalma said Thursday that he couldn't release details of the investigation because it is still pending, but said Elaine Bedard wasn't a target.
Christian Bedard confirmed the search on his Facebook page.
"I feel a bit violated, but I hope they charge me with something, because I will bring it to trial ... finally I'll be able to tell my story and I will have my closure, which was the whole point to begin with," Bedard wrote on Facebook.
DeGennaro told police that she, her brother and their family are concerned about Bedard and believe he is attempting to extort money for his false information.
"DeGennaro states she is greatly concerned about Bedard and in fear for her and her family's safety," police wrote in the search warrant affidavit.