Lastings Milledge, #1 Mets prospect
Baseball America’s writeup on Milledge as the #1 Mets prospect includes this:
New York was able to get him with the 12th overall pick in 2003 because of his mixed success with wood bats, a rumored high price tag and allegations of improper sexual conductâ€”none of which was ever substantiated.
This is not true. The circumstances surrounding his departure from the school are not clear. There were allegations that Lastings was having sex with 12 and 13-year old girls (consenting, for what that can mean at that age) that may have resulted in him being expelled. These have certainly not been proven. The allegations were investigated, but nothing happened–
From the New York Daily News:
A Pinellas County (Fla.) sheriff’s spokeswoman revealed to the Daily News three weeks ago that Milledge was investigated for consensual sexual contact with 12- and 13-year-old girls when he was 16. Milledge completed a juvenile “diversion” program that allowed him to avoid prosecution. It consisted of community service, a written essay and a “scared straight” prison visit, according to the spokeswoman.
But to say that none of the charges were ever substantiated… well, Milledge fessed up to another part of the sex allegations.
He was projected as one of the top three picks in this year’s draft, but when word got out that he had been expelled from Northside Christian School as a junior because of sexual conduct with a younger girl – Milledge admits to having had sexual relations with his then-15-year-old girlfriend – he fell to No. 12, where the Mets picked him.
The Milledges made a admission about the second part as an explanation about what happened with the police:
Lastings did not have sexual conduct with girls as young as 12 and 13, they say. He did go through a juvenile program, they admit, but voluntarily and only because he could have been prosecuted for the sexual contact he admitted having with his girlfriend.
The Mets went so far as to address the issues, essentially saying that they felt that the really bad allegations weren’t true.
Which leaves what Milledge admitted to, which is the having-sex-with-a-15-year-old part.
I’m not going to get into whether or not thes laws are fair to consenting teens, or… or anything like it. I’m not qualified to weigh the reasoning that might have gone into the police’s choice to prosecute. I’m not qualified to speculate on why Lastings felt that he might be prosecuted for his later offense instead.
But I want to point here that even the Milledges admitted that he did something related to sex with an minor that he could have been prosecuted for, and that Lastings went through a program to (if you entirely believe their side of the story) avoid possible prosecution for that.
Again, that’s the rosy view, which leaves unexplained his departure from the school, whether that was expulsion over the possible sex issues or voluntary, and assumes the letter to the school that accuses him of the really-young-girl-thing was false.
… allegations of improper sexual conductâ€”none of which was ever substantiated.
This is true only if you take the most narrow view of what that conduct might be, and at best substantially understates the truth of what we know and also of the larger circumstances surrounding what we know.