Twins star Miguel Sano accused of assaulting photographer Betsy Bissen: 'He hurt me and kept going'

Miguel Sano in 2016 [Photo: Carlos Gonzalez; Star Tribune]

Miguel Sano in 2016 [Photo: Carlos Gonzalez; Star Tribune]

St. Paul photographer Betsy Bissen joined the #MeToo movement Thursday, accusing Minnesota Twins star Miguel Sano of assaulting her after an autograph-signing event in 2015. 

Bissen -- who has worked as a freelance photographer for Twins Daily, the St. Paul Saints, and the Minnesota Zoo -- posted her story via Twitter. She describes shooting photos of Sano during an in-store autograph session at Fan HQ inside Minnetonka's Ridgedale Center, and his unreciprocated attempts to flirt with her.

Afterward, Sano "grabbed my wrist and made me go with" his agent and Bissen's co-worker to the mall's Apple Store, Bissen writes. After about 30 minutes inside the store, the group existed the mall through a back-hallway door, she writes. Once outside, Sano said he needed to use the restroom, and tried to pull Bissen back through the door, she alleges. 

Per Bissen's Twitter post: 

"I held back as he held onto my wrist. It hurt, how badly he was grasping at my wrist, but he wouldn't let go. I wasn't going to give up my fight though. He then leaned down at tried to kiss me, more than once. Every time he did, I said no and kept pulling back. I was in a squatted position with my wrist throbbing. I screamed, no one came to help me." 

After 10 minutes of attempting to pull her through the door, Bissen alleges, Sano finally gave up. 

"No, he didn't rape me, but he sure did assault me," she writes. "When I said no, it should have been the end of it. He should have respected that and stopped. Instead, he hurt me and kept going." 

Bissen reported being "sore all over" the day after allegedly fighting off the 6-foot-4, 260-pound Sano.

"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 concludes. 

Bissen also alleges a former Twins first-base coach hit on her at "almost every game" she photographed.

The Twins organization did not immediately respond to City Pages' request for comment, though it did later issue this statement. TMZ obtained the following denial from Sano:  

"I unequivocally deny the allegation made against me today -- it never happened. I have the utmost respect for women, especially those working in professional sports, and I deeply sympathize with anyone who has experienced sexual harassment. There is no place for it in our society."

Sano, 24, debuted with the Twins in 2015; he was named to the 2017 American League All-Star team. 

Here's Bissen's full account of what happened: 

After Bissen came forward with her allegations against Sano, former Twins player Trevor Plouffe voiced support for her:

Bissen says internet trolls have been less comforting: