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Giants’ Sandoval questioned in alleged sex case

By Alex Pavlovic, San Jose Mercury News –

Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval faces possible charges in connection with an alleged sexual assault early Friday morning.

The 25-year-old All-Star, who has been on the disabled list after wrist surgery, was questioned by Santa Cruz (Calif.) County sheriff’s deputies after a woman reported the incident at 4:25 a.m. Friday. Sandoval was not detained or arrested.

His attorney, Eric Geffon, said the sex had been consensual.

No information about the alleged victim was released.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman April Skalland said Saturday that Sandoval and the woman were part of a small group hanging out in downtown Santa Cruz on Thursday night. The group then headed to the Seascape beach resort in Aptos, Calif., where a sexual assault allegedly took place.

Deputies contacted Sandoval on Friday at the resort, and he agreed to be questioned with his attorney at the County Governmental Center on Ocean Street.

“He was cooperative,” Skalland said. “We’re in the early stages of the investigation.”

She said the case will be turned over to the county district attorney’s office, which will determine whether to bring charges.

According to Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, which first reported the incident, the alleged victim told authorities she had been too intoxicated to give consent. Sources told CSN Bay Area that she had submitted to a sexual assault forensic evidence kit at an area hospital.

In a prepared statement, Geffon said Sandoval on Friday “voluntarily met with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Department related to a consensual, personal relationship of a sexual nature that took place earlier that day.

“Pablo fully cooperated with the Sheriff’s Department. Out of respect for the process, we have no further comment at this time.”

The Giants had no immediate comment.

“He made a statement. I cannot talk about those things,” Sandoval told The Associated Press, referring to his attorney. “I’m just concentrating on my game and getting back to the team right now.”

Sandoval — whose stocky build has earned him the nickname “Panda” and great fan adulation — was hitting .316 and leading the Giants in home runs and RBIs when he fractured his left hamate bone during the first week of May. He was placed on the disabled list May 3, had surgery to remove the bone the following day and has rehabbed at the Giants’ minor league facility in Scottsdale, Ariz., as well as at AT&T Park.

He began a rehab assignment Saturday for the San Jose Giants, who were playing in Stockton. Sandoval served as designated hitter and is expected to play four to five games in the minors before rejoining the Giants’ active roster.

Skalland noted that the sheriff’s office normally doesn’t discuss sexual assault cases. This one, she said, was announced because of the high-profile suspect.

“We’re going to get a lot of calls,” she said.

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