Pirates' Kang being investigated in Chicago sexual assault claim
Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang is being investigated by Chicago police regarding a sexual assault complaint filed in late June, as first reported by the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday.
Kang has not been charged with a crime.
“We have been made aware of the allegation that has been made against Jung Ho Kang,” Pirates president Frank Coonelly said in a statement. “We take allegations of this type extremely seriously. Pursuant to the Joint MLB/MLBPA Policy on such matters, this matter is exclusively before the Commissioner's Office at this time.”
Kang, who is with the Pirates in St. Louis for a four-game series against the Cardinals, was not available for comment.
The Chicago Tribune reported police said Kang, 29, met a woman through a location-based dating app known as Bumble that allows only women to initiate conversations.
According to the Chicago Tribune, police said Kang invited the woman to his room at the Westin Hotel on June 17 after the Pirates lost a day game to the Cubs. The woman told police she arrived at Kang's hotel room at 10 p.m. and was served an alcoholic drink, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told the Chicago Tribune.
Guglielmi added the woman said she blacked out after 15 to 20 minutes and told police she was sexually assaulted as she “drifted in and out of consciousness.”
According to the Chicago Tribune, Guglielmi said the 23-year-old woman went to a hospital to have a rape kit done June 19.
Sources told the Chicago Tribune she filed a formal complaint to police 10 days later.
The Tribune-Review formally requested a copy of the complaint from Chicago police but had not received it as of Tuesday night.
In an email responding to questions from the Tribune-Review, the Chicago Police Department confirmed the investigation of a Criminal Sexual Assault by an adult male reported by a 23-year-old female to have taken place June 17 at approximately 10 p.m. inside a hotel room at the address of the Westin.
ESPN reported Tuesday evening that a Chicago police spokesperson called Kang a “person of interest” in the alleged sexual assault. According to ESPN, the investigation is still in the information-gathering and evidence-collection phase.
Major League Baseball released a statement saying it was aware of the investigation, which it called a “very serious matter,” and is monitoring the situation.
Coonelly said the team has and will continue to cooperate with the commissioner's office.
“As a result of the ongoing police investigation,” Coonelly said, “we cannot comment further at this time. We have also advised our staff and our players that they should not comment on the matter, either. We all need to be respectful to the police investigation of a very serious allegation.”
In August 2015, MLB and the Players' Association jointly released a domestic violence policy that includes sexual assault.
The commissioner's office investigates all claims of abuse or assault even if no criminal charges are filed.
Players may be placed on paid leave for up to seven days while the investigation is underway. Players can challenge any decision through an arbitration panel.
Kang, who is from South Korea, was not in the Pirates' lineup Tuesday night, but manager Clint Hurdle said Kang was available off the bench if needed. He had not started three of the previous five games.
Kang is in his second season with the Pirates, having signed a four-year, $11 million contract before the 2015 season. Kang finished third in National League Rookie of the Year voting.