DETROIT (AP) A pitcher in the Detroit Tigers organization was charged Wednesday with sexually assaulting a woman at a downtown hotel last spring after they met at a bar in the suburbs.
Evan Reed, 28, plays for the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens but was with the Tigers when the alleged assault occurred on March 30, the eve of Opening Day.
Reed is accused of an act of penetration through force or coercion at MotorCity Casino Hotel. The charge of third-degree criminal sexual conduct carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.
The 45-year-old woman ''began to feel odd'' after consuming alcohol earlier at a bar in Royal Oak, the Wayne County prosecutor's office said in a statement. They took a cab to the hotel.
Reed ''had reason to know the victim was physically helpless or mentally incapacitated or mentally incapable to consent,'' Prosecutor Kym Worthy said at a news conference. She declined to say whether the woman had been drugged.
Reed's attorneys have aggressively declared his innocence since the investigation was made public in the spring. They had predicted there would be no charges.
''This is by far the worst decision I've seen from the Wayne County prosecutor's office,'' defense lawyer Ben Gonek said. ''There is no doubt the jury will find (Reed) is not guilty. The public will see what a waste of taxpayer dollars this is.''
In a statement, the Tigers said team officials are ''closely monitoring the situation.'' The case ''must run its course before there is any further comment from the ballclub,'' the team said.
Reed, a native of Santa Maria, California, was not scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.
He was 0-1 with a 4.88 ERA in 27 games for the Tigers before being sent to Toledo in June.
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