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Former MLB outfielder Yasiel Puig denied allegations that he sexually assaulted a woman at a Los Angeles Lakers game in 2018 in a statement on Tuesday afternoon. His accuser's attorney responded one day later.
The woman filed a lawsuit over the incident in October, and alleged that Puig sexually assaulted her in a bathroom at the Staples Center while they were at the Lakers’ game against the Dallas Mavericks on Oct. 31, 2018.
Puig, who last played in 2019, called the claims “totally false.”
“I am speaking out now to defend my name against false and malicious allegations by a woman who claims I assaulted her in 2018,” Puig said in a statement. “Let me be clear and set the record straight once and for all: These allegations are totally false, the evidence proves they are false, and I look forward to all the facts and the truth coming out.”
I released a statement along with my attorneys today. I am encouraging you all to please read. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/agTMeQ3Onz
— Yasiel Puig (@YasielPuig) April 13, 2021
Woman claimed Yasiel Puig sexually assaulted her in 2018
The woman, identified in the lawsuit under the alias Jane Roe, accused Puig of sexual battery, assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and false imprisonment in the lawsuit. The incident took place just after Puig’s final season with the Dodgers wrapped up in 2018.
The woman said she was “simply heading to use the bathroom,” and didn’t go there to have sex with Puig.
But, according to the lawsuit, she was then "forced into a bathroom and Yasiel Puig grabbed at her trying to take her clothes off, touched her sexual organs during this struggle, and eventually pinned her with one arm and used his other to stroke his own penis, exposing himself, and eventually ejaculating.”
In his statement, Puig claims that the woman “propositioned” him for sex that day, and that that they had messaged repeatedly after the incident.
“The fact is that I had consensual sex with a woman I met at a Lakers game after she propositioned me,” he said in a statement. “Afterward, we talked about going out together, but she said she did not want her fiancé to find out. We messaged each other afterward and planned to get together again, but we never did. She’s now suing me based on completely made up allegations.”
Puig was set to play with the Atlanta Braves last season, but didn’t appear in a game after a positive COVID-19 test sidelined him and canceled the deal. The 30-year-old Cuban native is still a free agent.
Puig's accuser responds, says she's a lesbian
One day after Puig posted his statement, the attorney Taylor Rayfield responded on behalf of the accuser in a statement to the Cincinnati Enquirer, calling Puig's claims "false and defamatory."
Among the contentions made in the response are that the woman never engaged in any consensual sexual activity, that Puig's legal team asked the accuser not to file her lawsuit until years later, that Puig repeatedly texted his accuser begging to see her and that the accuser is a lesbian with a female fiancee.
The full statement:
Mr. Puig and his attorneys are making false and defamatory statements about the facts of this case to the press, in a transparently desperate attempt to curry favor with the league.
The simple fact of the matter is that our client never engaged in consensual sexual activity with Mr. Puig—not at the Staples Center Chairman’s Club, and not anywhere else. She was in the Chairman’s Club attending a basketball game with her fiancé, when she met Mr. Puig and they exchanged information, our client believed, for business purposes. Mr. Puig then, however, secretly followed her into a restroom, attacked her and forcibly held her while he masturbated until she finally broke free and fled the restroom. Our client and her fiancée immediately left, and she informed her fiancé about the attack. Although Puig claims our client waited two years to file this case, in order to deprive him of evidence to defend himself, the truth is that our client retained us within a year of the attack and did not file the case earlier because Puig’s attorneys asked us not to file.
The allegation has never been that Puig and our client engaged in sexual intercourse in the restroom. This claim of consensual sex was recently fabricated by Mr. Puig in an attempt to explain away his text messages to my client, immediately after the alleged attack, warning her that what happened was 'private between them.'
Mr. Puig’s statement that they messaged one another after the attack, planning to get together, contradicts the evidence. After Puig allegedly sexually assaulted our client, he sent her at least 18 text messages begging to see her. Fearful of a further attack or retribution by Puig, our client attempted to de-escalate his behavior by providing curt responses to the texts and later ignoring him. Our client did nothing to encourage this behavior.
This is another event in a pattern of violent and brutish behavior by Puig, while attempting to breathe new life into his dying career.
Further decimating Puig’s false statements regarding the attack, Jane Doe, Mr. Puig’s accuser confirms, 'I am an out and proud lesbian and have been during my entire adult life. My female fiancée and I were enjoying a Lakers game at the Staples Center when this attack occurred. The notion that I would leave my fiancé, and run off into a bathroom, so someone I did not know could do this to me, or do something worse, is demeaning and ridiculous.'
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