SOUTHINGTON—Police are investigating whether a childhood friend of major league pitcher Carl Pavano tried to extort money from him by threatening to publicize details of their relationship while attending Southington High School.
The investigation was started in late December after Pavano's sister, Michelle DeGennaro, complained to police that she was being harassed through her Facebook account.
On March 21, police searched the 43 Hunting Hill Drive home that Christian Bedard, 36, shares with his mother, Elaine, a member of the town's police commission. Police seized a laptop computer and a journal written by Christian Bedard.
According to a search warrant affidavit, DeGennaro filed a complaint with police Dec. 30. She told police that Bedard, whom she recognized as a childhood friend of her brother's, had posted false accusations about Pavano on her Facebook page. She told police that she had asked Bedard to stop, but he refused.
Det. Mark Beal, summarizing in the affidavit a Facebook message that Bedard sent to DeGennaro, wrote: "Bedard states Pavano is gay, and they had a relationship when they were growing up."
"Bedard said he has a book deal in place worth $1.2 million and that it can all go away if Pavano buys him a navy Range Rover with tan leather."
DeGennaro and her family told police that Bedard's statements were untrue, the affidavit says.
"DeGennaro, her family, as well as Carl Pavano are concerned and believe that Bedard is attempting to extort monetary funds for his fabricated false information and believes he can hold them 'hostage' with information concerning Carl Pavano, believing Pavano fears the release of the information."
The affidavit said the search was to find possible evidence of second-degree harassment and criminal attempt to commit first-degree larceny.
No arrest has been made and police are still working on the case, police spokesman Sgt. Lowell DePalma said Thursday.
Pavano, who plays for the Minnesota Twins, could not be reached for comment. Twins spokesman Mike Herman said Thursday: "On the advice of his attorney, Carl is not commenting at this time because of the ongoing police investigation."
Christian Bedard has declined to comment, but on Thursday emailed a statement to The Associated Press:
"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."
The day police searched his home he posted a comment on his own Facebook page. "So the police raided my house this morning and seized my laptop and all material related to my relationship with Carl Pavano and the book I was working on."
"I feel a bit violated, but I hope they charged 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."
According to the affidavit, Bedard sent several rambling messages to DeGennaro, including one in which Bedard criticizes Pavano and his family for ignoring the relationship and for prejudice against homosexuals.
Bedard also mentions his mother's influence in local and state political circles. Elaine Bedard has been on the police commission since 2009 and earlier this month was elected chairwoman of the Democratic town committee.
Christian Bedard has a history of criminal convictions that include driving while intoxicated, reckless endangerment, breach of peace and third-degree burglary, according to court records.
Pavano signed a four-year, $39.95 million contract with the Yankees in 2004, but injuries and other problems made his stay with the team disastrous. He eventually signed with the Twins, and is starting his third season in Minnesota. According to recent news reports, Pavano is married, has two small children and lives in a suburb of Minneapolis. He's expected to pitch on Opening Day April 6 against Baltimore.