Cops: Carl Pavano target of extortion

SOUTHINGTON -- A former high school classmate of Carl Pavano has been accused of trying to extort money and a luxury SUV from the Minnesota Twins pitcher.

According to a search warrant affidavit filed by police earlier this month, Pavano's sister, Michelle DeGennaro, said Christian Bedard, 36, of Southington, Conn., was "attempting to extort monetary funds for his fabricated, false information" and that he believes he can hold the Pavano family "hostage" with the information.

Bedard told the Record-Journal of Meriden, Conn., which first reported the story, that he had an "emotional and physical relationship" with Pavano for three years while they were in high school. The affidavit says he threatened to reveal the alleged relationship and to write a book about it unless Pavano apologized to him and bought him a navy Range Rover with tan leather.

Police in Pavano's hometown of Southington, about 18 miles southwest of Hartford, said in the affidavit they began investigating the allegations after DeGennaro complained in December she had received several troublesome Facebook messages from Bedard. DeGennaro told police that Bedard made up a bogus story about having a same-sex relationship with her brother in an attempt to extort her family.

Officers executed the search warrant at Bedard's home on March 21 and seized items but wouldn't say what they were. Bedard said on his Facebook page that police took his laptop computer, material relating to Pavano and the book he was writing. Bedard hasn't been charged.

The search warrant affidavit includes copies of several Facebook messages Bedard allegedly sent to DeGennaro.

"I have serious juicy book offers ... to the point that the only way your brother is getting out of this ... is with a heartfelt apology and a navy range rover with tan leather," Bedard allegedly wrote to DeGennaro, according to police. "If I'm going to drop a 1.2 million dollar book deal I want something."

"That is my best offer an apology and a land rover and I'll kill the project," Bedard wrote referring to the book deal, according to the affidavit. Bedard told The Associated Press in a statement that he wanted an apology because of how Pavano treated him at the end of their relationship. He didn't elaborate.

Bedard, a real estate agent, later rescinded his offer to DeGennaro in another message, police said.

"I'm up to five depositions of friends who I trusted with the secret of Carl and I's relationship," Bedard wrote, according to the affidavit. "Then I called my attorney ... the book is the best deal."

DeGennaro told police that Bedard also demanded that Pavano pay a substantial amount of money to him or he would reveal personal information about Pavano to the media. DeGennaro didn't return messages left by The Associated Press on Thursday.

Twins spokesman Mike Herman said in a text message: "Carl and his attorney are not making any comments because there is an ongoing police investigation."

Pavano was at the team's spring training complex in Fort Myers, Fla.

Pavano has been with the Twins since 2009, after a season with Cleveland and three with the Yankees, and is scheduled to start Opening Day on April 6 in Baltimore.

Twins general manager Terry Ryan was in Bradenton, Fla., with the team and was asked if he was worried the story could be a distraction to his pitcher.

"Well, it affects Carl, and we'll have to see exactly what comes about here," Ryan said, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "I don't know enough about it. I haven't talked to him yet."

Bedard didn't return messages on Thursday but emailed a statement to the AP.

"I have been openly gay for most of my adult life," the statement said. "For years, my physical high school relationship with Carl Pavano has been well known to my close friends and family. Carl Pavano's sister, Michelle DeGennaro, contacted me on Facebook asking under what conditions would I not talk about my relationship with Carl."

Bedard said he responded to her that he wanted an apology, and said his comments about wanting a Range Rover were made "in jest."

"I did not attempt to extort money from Carl Pavano," Bedard said. "I have not been charged with any crime. I will allow my local police department to conclude their investigation and I will have no further comment."

Police say the home they searched last week is owned by Bedard's mother, Elaine Bedard, who is a member of the town's police commission. Sgt. Lowell DePalma said Thursday he couldn't release details of the investigation because it is still pending, but said Elaine Bedard wasn't a target.

Christian Bedard confirmed the search on his Facebook page.

"I feel a bit violated, but I hope they charge me with something, because I will bring it to trial ... finally I'll be able to tell my story and I will have my closure, which was the whole point to begin with," Bedard wrote on Facebook.

DeGennaro told police that she, her brother and their family are concerned about Bedard.

"DeGennaro states she is greatly concerned about Bedard and in fear for her and her family's safety," police wrote in the search warrant affidavit.

Information from The Associated Press and ESPN.com senior writer Jerry Crasnick was used in this report.