‘Insufficient’ evidence to arrest Giants’ Sandoval

SANTA CRUZ – The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday investigators have found “insufficient” evidence to arrest San Francisco Giants’ third baseman Pablo Sandoval on sex assault charges.
The findings have been sent to District Attorney Bob Lee, who says his office will review the evidence and ultimately could choose to file charges.
Sandoval was accused of sexually assaulting a 21-year-old Santa Cruz woman in June. The woman told deputies that she met the athlete at a bar in downtown Santa Cruz and then went with him and a small group of people to Seascape Resort in Aptos early on the morning of June 1. She reported she’d been assaulted about 4:30 a.m., at the resort, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Investigators finished their report Wednesday after collecting evidence and conducting numerous interviews, including meeting with Sandoval and his San Jose-based attorney Eric Geffon a few hours after the incident was reported, deputy April Skalland said Thursday.
Late Wednesday morning, investigators concluded there was “insufficient evidence” to support an arrest and the 300-page report was turned over to Lee.
Lee said his office will go over the findings, analyze all evidence and “make an independent determination” on whether to file charges.
The DA’s Office has been working with the Sheriff’s Office on the investigation from the beginning, Lee said. He and Deputy District Attorney Jeff Rosell engaged in several interviews with Geffon and Sandoval, he said.
“We’re very familiar with this case,” he said.
Lee’s office will examine all the evidence and transcripts of interviews. He described his office’s role as being sort of a checks and balance for law enforcement.
“Our search is always a search for the truth,” he said. “Our job is to look for the truth and I think we’re pretty good at it.”
Though it’s not frequently that prosecutors will override the decision by the Sheriff’s Office, “it has happened,” Lee said.
Lee said he couldn’t give a time line of how long his office’s end of the investigation will take, but maintained that Sandoval’s celebrity status won’t have any effect on their review.
“Everybody’s treated the same,” Lee said.
Thursday, Geffon said, “We are pleased that they have concluded that there is insufficient evidence to support an arrest. Pablo will continue to focus on helping the Giants toward a playoff run this season.
Sandoval, a Venezuela native, signed with the Giants as a nondrafted free agent in 2003 and made his Major League debut Aug. 14, 2008.
This season with the Giants, he’s batting .307 (59-for-192) with 13 doubles, eight home runs and 30 RBIs and 30 runs scored.
Elected by fans to the 2012 All-Star Game, which was played Tuesday in Kansas City, Mo., Sandoval – nicknamed “Kung Fu Panda” – hit a bases-loaded triple in the National League’s 8-0 rout of the American League. It was his second straight All-Star Game appearance for San Francisco.
Santa Cruz Sentinel reporter Jim Seimas contributed to this report.

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