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Yankees outfielder denies rape; accuser’s credibility questioned

July 23, 1997

MILWAUKEE (AP) _ Outfielder Mark Whiten wants to play for the New York Yankees while a prosecutor decides whether to charge him with sexually assaulting a woman at his Milwaukee hotel.

``He certainly expects to play tomorrow,″ Whiten’s attorney, Stephen Glynn, said Tuesday.

A 31-year-old woman accused Whiten of sexually assaulting her at his hotel on Saturday. The woman was transported to a mental health complex for observation after contacting police, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported today.

``She was loud to everybody, and her actions and reactions were unusual,″ an unidentified police source told the newspaper.

The woman’s credibility will be the ``central issue″ if Whiten is charged, Glynn said.

Whiten has denied raping the woman. He contends the sex was consensual, police said.

Police have recommended a charge of second-degree sexual assault, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Assistant District Attorney Gale Shelton is not expected to decide until later this week whether charges are warranted against the 30-year-old ballplayer.

Whiten was arrested Monday, the final day of the Yankees’ four-game series with the Brewers. He was released on $10,000 bond while authorities review the case.

Whiten and Glynn twice appeared at the district attorney’s office Tuesday to speak with a prosecutor, but were turned away for scheduling reasons.

Whiten declined comment as he and Glynn made their way to the courthouse elevators. He returned to New York Tuesday night.

The outfielder missed two games last week to travel to Clearwater, Fla., to be his wife, Sheri, when she delivered the couple’s second child, a boy.

The Yankees, meanwhile, opened a 12-game homestand Tuesday night with a 9-2 victory over the Anaheim Angels.

After the game, manager Joe Torre said he expected to see Whiten on Wednesday.

``He’ll be here tomorrow, that’s one thing we know,″ Torre said.

Asked if Whiten would have played had he made to Yankee Stadium before the game ended, Torre said: ``Well, fortunately we didn’t need him tonight.″

``We’ll get more information,″ Torre said. ``It’s not fair to convict him, basically.″

Whiten was batting .245 with five home runs and 23 RBIs in 200 at-bats for the Yankees. With Tim Raines and Darryl Strawberry on the disabled list, Whiten was playing regularly in left field until a recent slump dropped his batting average 13 points since the All-Star break.

The strong-armed outfielder has played in 63 games this year, but only five of the previous 11.

In May, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner was upset that Whiten went with pitcher Dwight Gooden to a strip club in Arlington, Texas. Gooden left the club by himself and later became involved in a scuffle with a taxi driver.

``I like Mark a lot,″ Gooden said Tuesday at Yankee Stadium. ``I don’t think it’s true. Personally, it bothers me because people have already judged him.″

Whiten signed as a free agent with the Yankees on Jan. 9. He has played for eight teams since making his major league debut with Toronto in 1990.

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