The head of security for the Baltimore Ravens is accused of groping a stadium worker and forcing himself against her after a team home game.
Police late Tuesday charged Darren I. Sanders with a fourth-degree sex offense stemming from the allegations lodged on Dec. 14, court records show. The alleged victim also filed a peace order against Sanders last week.
Court papers related to the charges filed by police show the 34-year-old woman called police to the stadium that night and said she had been asked to escort a male who identified himself as the head of security.
She said he groped her buttocks as they walked down a hallway, and while inside of a lobby on the third floor of the stadium kissed her neck and attempted to make her grab his genitals, court records show. Police said a witness observed part of the incident.
Sanders' attorney, Andrew Alperstein, said the claims were "totally fabricated, made up."
"It does a disservice to real victims when people make things up like this," Alperstein said. "People like [Sanders] are susceptible to made-up allegations. It puts you in a vulnerable position."
Sanders has been placed on paid leave while the allegations are pending, according to a source, and Sanders will not travel with the team to Pittsburgh, where they will face the Steelers in a wild-card playoff game Saturday.
Sanders, a retired city homicide detective, has been affiliated with the team for more than a decade. In 2004, he was traveling with owner Steve Bisciotti to a University of Maryland basketball game in North Carolina and accidentally discharged his weapon inside the auditorium. He was charged by police there, and later paid a $100 fine.
The current investigation has been relayed to the NFL, with a representative for the league's security department going to the Ravens' offices in recent weeks to explore the legal matter, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
It was not immediately clear how Sanders' legal situation applies to the recently-revised NFL personal conduct policy that governs players, coaches and all team employees.
"We have been looking into it," league spokesman Greg Aiello told The Baltimore Sun in an email.
A fourth-degree sex offense is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of a year in jail or a fine of $1,000, or both.
Because he was charged Tuesday in Maryland through a summons, Sanders was not arrested but was assigned a Feb. 9 court date.
Details of the peace order filed against Sanders were not available. A judge granted a temporary peace order, but officials said Sanders had not been served with paperwork. That case is scheduled for a Jan. 6 court hearing.
The charges are the latest trouble for the Ravens, though Sanders has previously been on the investigating side of incidents. He figured prominently in the controversy surrounding whether the team had obtained or attempted to obtain footage of the assault involving Ray Rice and his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer. Sanders said he had asked Atlantic City, N.J., police and the Revel Casino for a copy of surveillance video of the assault, but an official instead described the video to him.
He also said Rice told him that he had slapped Palmer, but denied punching her. Video later showed Rice punching Palmer, whom he has since married. Rice was cut from the team and was entered into a pre-trial program after pleading not guilty in an Atlantic City court.
That tumultuous offseason included the arrests of four other Ravens players.
Alperstein added of Sanders, "He's had nothing but an exemplary career, both with the police department and the Ravens. He wouldn't get to the position he's in if he didn't."