Baseball / Sports

Detroit Tigers' Evan Reed charged with sexual assault in casino hotel

A Detroit Tigers pitcher now with the Toledo Mud Hens was charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct involving a 45-year-old woman in March at a Motor City Casino Hotel room.

Evan Reed, 28, met the woman about midnight March 30, when she and her friend were invited to sit in a booth at a Royal Oak bar with Reed and others, according to Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.

"At some point, the (woman) finished an alcoholic drink and began to feel odd," according to a news release from Worthy's office.

The woman and Reed left the bar and took a taxi to the hotel. The woman alleges that at 7:30 that morning, Reed sexually assaulted her in the hotel room and then told her to leave, according to the news release.

The charges against Reed carry a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

Attorneys for Reed reacted with disbelief to the charges, called the sex consensual, and said Reed will be vindicated when the case comes to a jury trial. The Tigers said they're closely monitoring the case.

Reed is to turn himself in at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, according to a statement from Worthy's office.

The statement also said it's important to note that investigations in any case must be thorough and include interviews with all witnesses.

"This protocol remains the same if the alleged defendant is wealthy, privileged, a known figure or even a promising athlete," Worthy said in the statement.

Earlier, Worthy said surveillance footage was reviewed, and numerous witnesses were interviewed since the alleged incident about four months ago.

"This takes a lot of time, and that time was further extended because we now have almost 100 less staff than we had two years ago," she said. "This did not affect the quality of our work, but it certainly affected the time that it took to do our work."

Worthy declined to say whether Reed cooperated, but she said prosecutors did receive information from the defense in the case. She announced the charges at a news conference this morning at her offices in the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice.

Attorney Ben Gonek in Detroit, who represents Reed, said in an email that the alleged victim walked past two uniformed police officers on her way out of the hotel and said nothing.

"The charges are ridiculous," he said. "The prosecutor's office knows the evidence shows the sex was consensual."

He continued, "In my nearly 25 years of practicing law, this is the worst prosecutorial decision I have ever seen by the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office."

Under Michigan law, criminal sexual conduct involving adults is defined as a person engaging in sexual penetration with a victim while knowing the victim is mentally or physically helpless.

Gonek's law office also issued a news release that said he "fully cooperated" with police through witness statements and documents.

The release said Reed will demand a speedy trial and looks forward to being vindicated.

"When 12 jurors hear the facts of this case, there is no doubt in our minds they will find Evan not guilty of the charged offenses," according to the news release.

The Tigers this morning released a statement on the situation: "As an organization, we take matters like this very seriously and we are closely monitoring the situation. Evan Reed's representatives are handling his legal proceeding that must run its course before there is any further comment from the ballclub."

David Gorcyca, also representing Reed, issued a statement calling it "mindboggling" that charges were issued despite evidence to the contrary.

The Mud Hens are a minor league Triple A team affiliated with the Detroit Tigers.

The Tigers signed Reed in April 2013. After an inconsistent start this season, Reed was sent to Toledo in June. Tigers manager Brad Ausmus told the Free Press that the sexual-assault allegation was not a factor in the demotion.

Reed was 0-2 with a 4.88 ERA in 27 games for the Tigers. Reed has a 6.97 ERA in eight games with Toledo.

(c)2014 Detroit Free Press

Visit the Detroit Free Press at www.freep.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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