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Mets stop talks as Milledge investigated

8/5/2003 - New York Mets

NEW YORK -- The New York Mets have halted contract
negotiations with first-round draft pick Lastings Milledge while
they investigate allegations that he had sexual contact with girls
as young as 12 when he was in high school, the Daily News reported
Tuesday.

The allegations reportedly stemmed from an unsigned letter that
said his school should look into misconduct by Milledge, at the
time a 16-year-old junior at Northside Christian School in Florida.
The Pinellas County Sheriff's Department investigated, and the
state's attorney's office took over the case.

"Our crimes against children detectives unit was very serious
about pursuing this case,'' sheriff's spokeswoman Marianne Pasha
told the Daily News. "They felt strongly there was some
victimization involved.''

Milledge, now 18, denied the accusations, the newspaper said.

"He was never arrested, never charged, never appeared before a
judge,'' Milledge's attorney, Robert Heyman, told the Daily News.

Milledge, an outfielder, was selected 12th overall in the
amateur draft last June out of Lakewood Ranch High School in
Palmetto, Fla.

Mets senior vice president David Howard said the team did not
know about the allegations until recently, the newspaper reported.

In a statement read to the Daily News by team spokesman Jay
Horwitz, the Mets called the allegations "serious'' and said they
"warrant further investigation to assess their validity.''

"Until we know what the facts are, we will reserve judgment and
any further comment,'' Horwitz said.