July 30, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Tigers' Evan Reed charged with criminal sexual conduct

Evan Reed appeared in 27 games for the Tigers this season. (Elizabeth Conley / The Detroit News)

Detroit — Tigers minor league pitcher Evan Reed allegedly sexually assaulted an “incapacitated” woman in his hotel room before ordering her to leave, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said Wednesday in announcing charges against the 28-year-old reliever.

Reed’s attorney, however, insists the woman consented to having sex in the pitcher’s room at the MotorCity Casino Hotel in March.

After a months-long investigation, Worthy on Wednesday charged Reed with two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. If convicted, he could spend up to 15 years in prison.

Reed was expected to turn himself in to authorities Thursday morning, followed by a 10:30 a.m. arraignment in 36th District Court, according to a press release from the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.

According to Worthy, Reed and some unspecified companions invited the 45-year-old alleged victim and her female friend to join them in a booth at a Royal Oak bar at midnight on March 30, just hours before he pitched an inning during the Tigers’ home opener at Comerica Park.

“At some point, the alleged victim finished an alcohol drink and began to feel odd,” Worthy said in a written release, although when asked during a press conference in her office whether Reed allegedly drugged the woman, she declined to comment, adding the details of the case would be presented in court.

Worthy said Reed and the woman left the bar and took a cab to the MotorCity Casino. At about 7:30 a.m. the next day, the woman told police Reed sexually assaulted her in the hotel room and afterward instructed her to leave.

Reed’s attorney, Ben Gonek, insisted the sex was consensual.

“We’re shocked by the charges, but now that (Worthy) has made the decision to charge him, Evan is looking forward to his day in court,” Gonek said. “Twelve jurors will see this case for exactly what it is, and we’re confident he’ll be acquitted of all charges.

“The evidence shows that the sex was knowing and consensual. When they got back to the room, they went to sleep, and several hours later, they had sex.”

The woman reported the alleged incident two days later, police said.

Reed first was investigated by the Detroit Police Sex Crimes Unit, before the case — and a warrant request — was turned over to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office in early May.

Worthy said Wednesday the investigation took so long “because there was a lot of work to be done,” which included poring over surveillance tapes and interviewing witnesses. According to Worthy, Reed “had reason to know the victim was physically helpless, or mentally incapacitated, or mentally incapable of consenting.”

The Tigers responded to the case in a statement: “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."”

Asked about Reed's standing with the organization, the team declined comment. He still is listed on the Toledo Mud Hens' website, and last pitched Monday.

Reed, a right-hander, has pitched in 43 games out of the Tigers bullpen over the last two seasons. This year, he was 0-1 with a 4.88 ERA before he was demoted to Toledo in mid-June. Manager Brad Ausmus made it clear Reed was demoted for his performance, not the police investigation.

ghunter@detroitnews.com
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