BALTIMORE – The Baltimore Ravens’ security director is accused of groping a woman and pressing up against her at the team’s stadium after a December game, according to court documents obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.
Charging documents filed in Baltimore City District Court said 48-year-old Darren Sanders is also accused of kissing the 34-year-old woman’s neck and attempting to force her to grab his genitals.
Ravens senior vice president Kevin Byrne said Wednesday that Sanders has been placed on paid leave, per the NFL’s personal conduct policy. He isn’t with the team and won’t travel to Pittsburgh for the Ravens’ playoff game Saturday night.
Sanders’ lawyers say he denies the allegations.
The woman worked at M&T Bank Stadium and was asked to escort Sanders to another part of the building several hours after the Ravens beat the Jaguars on Dec. 14, the court documents said.
“He hit and/or groped her buttocks more than once as they walked down the third level hallway,” the victim told Baltimore police Sgt. Kerry Snead, who outlined the accusations in court documents.
The documents said after the grabbing and other advances, the woman walked away, and told several co-workers what had happened. A witness also saw part of their interaction, the documents said.
A hearing is set for Feb. 9.
“We are investigating this case thoroughly,” Ravens senior vice president Kevin Byrne said Wednesday.
Byrne said the woman is not a team employee. The Associated Press does not generally identify alleged victims of sex offenses.
The charge against Sanders lists his address as that of the Ravens’ team headquarters in Owings Mills, Maryland. Normally, defendants in a criminal case are required to list a home address.
Sanders’ lawyers said he did nothing wrong.
“He is innocent and looks forward to his day in court,” the firm of Alperstein & Diener said in a statement.
“Mr. Sanders has worked his entire career to keep others safe as a police officer and as a detective with the Baltimore City Police Department and currently as the senior security director for the Baltimore Ravens,” the statement said. “He is a man who possesses tremendous integrity, and he has worked to ensure public safety by protecting the health, welfare and security of the community.”
A spokesman for the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office on Wednesday declined comment, saying the office does not comment on active cases. A Baltimore police spokesman did not immediately respond to multiple requests.
In Maryland, a fourth-degree sex offense is the lowest level of such a charge. It’s punishable by a maximum one year in jail and a fine of $1,000.
News of the summons was first reported by the Baltimore Sun.
Sanders’ first year as a full-time employee with the Ravens was 2004.
This year, Sanders launched the Ravens’ investigation into the Ray Rice domestic violence case after being told by a police officer details of a video that showed Rice hitting his then-fiancee in a hotel elevator.
Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said in a news conference in September that the officer described the scene to Sanders, who relayed the information to other team officials.
“So, (he gave) his description to Darren, Darren took notes and gave his description as he understood it to (coach) John (Harbaugh) and (general manager) and Ozzie (Newsome), I believe,” Bisciotti said.
In 2004, Sanders was charged with bringing a concealed pistol into an Atlantic Coast Conference tournament game in Greensboro, North Carolina, where he was shot in the hip when the gun accidentally fired. Sanders, identified in archived accounts of the incident as an off-duty Baltimore police detective, was working at the game as a bodyguard for Bisciotti.
It’s unclear whether Sanders was convicted of the charge against him.