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Pirates star faces criminal charges

9-24-2019

Natalie Calzetoni, Contributing Writer

Things have gone from bad-to-worse for the Pittsburgh Pirates, as sexual assault charges involving a minor swirl around one of the team’s star players.

The Pirates closer and two time all-star, Felipe Vazquez, admitted to authorities that in 2017 he “had sex but not really,” with a 13-year old girl, according to a Pennsylvania criminal complaint, USA Today reported. Vazquez continued contact with the victim, now 15 years old. He was taken into custody last Tuesday by the Pennsylvania State Police after the Florida Department of Law Enforcement did an investigation on the matter. 

The victim, who moved from Scottsdale, Pa. to Lee County, Fla. had met Vazquez on social media in 2017 before exchanging numbers. Vazquez drove to the girl’s house in Scottsdale and sexually assaulted her in his red Ford Mustang at the end of the driveway. The victim said that the assault ended after one minute, according to authorities. Vazquez claims he stopped the sexual relations to leave the girl’s house, because he had a baseball game that night. He admitted to authorities he assaulted her, which he referred to as “sex but not really,” in the complaint. Vazquez also admitted to recognizing the girl from a photograph from the complaint, but he did not remember her name, USA Today reported. Police said that Vazquez “claimed initially that he refused to communicate with her due to age,” because she appeared to be about 16 years old if not younger, ESPN reports. 

 According to officials, the girl was continuing to have a relationship with Vazquez and received a video in July 2019 of the MLB pitcher “performing a sex act,” the Florida Department of Law Enforcement wrote in a statement. Vasquez also sent messages to her suggesting they meet up for sex after the MLB season ends. These allegations came to light when the girl’s mother found explicit messages on her phone, the mother then filed a complaint. In these messages, Vazquez and the victim exchanged nudes, suggestive texts as well as social media messages.  

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested Vazquez last Tuesday for “one count of computer pornography - solicitation of a child and one count of providing obscene material to minors.” After these charges the Pennsylvania State Police also added felony charges of statutory sexual assault, unlawful contact of a minor and corruption of minors and a misdemeanor count of indecent assault of a person under 16, The Hill reports. Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents and Pennsylvania State Police arrived at Vazquez’s apartment and seized several of his electronic devices for examination. 

Pittsburgh Pirates President, Frank Coonelly, said in a statement that Vazquez was immediately placed on administrative leave on Tuesday.  

“We take this matter, and these charges in particular, extremely seriously,” Coonelly said. 

Vazquez appeared before a Pennsylvania judge, and was denied bail in his arraignment. He is facing multiple charges, and it looks like the MLB star could be facing years behind bars