Pirates Pitcher Felipe Vazquez Charged With Sexual Assault Of Child, Met Alleged Victim At Ballpark

Felipe Vazquez

Pirates Pitcher Felipe Vazquez Charged With Sexual Assault Of Child, Met Alleged Victim At Ballpark

The MLB player has been placed on administrative leave.

Published September 18, 2019

Written by Zayda Rivera

Felipe Vazquez won’t be making an appearance on the baseball field any time soon. 

The pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates was arrested Tuesday (September 17) morning and charged with multiple felonies in both Pennsylvania and Florida, including statutory sexual assault, ESPN reports

In Florida, Vazquez was charged with “computer pornography/soliciting a child” and “providing obscene material to minors.” 

In Pennsylvania, he’s been charged with three felonies, which include statutory sexual assault of a minor 11 years or older, unlawful contact with a minor, and corruption of minors. 

He’s also been charged with one misdemeanor in his team’s home state for indecent assault of a person less than 16 years old, reports ESPN. 

“FDLE’s investigation began in August of this year after agents obtained information that Vazquez had a reported sexual relationship with a 13-year old female victim who resides in Lee County,” the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said in a statement.  

“The victim, now 15 years of age, was continuing to have a relationship with Vazquez via text messaging and received a video in July from him in which he is shown performing a sex act,” the FDLE statement continued. “Additionally, Vazquez allegedly sent the victim text messages suggesting they would meet for sex after his baseball season was over.” 

After a search of his Pittsburgh apartment, investigators seized several electronic devices to be examined, which could lead to more charges, the statement details. 

On Tuesday, Vazquez was taken into custody on a felony warrant out of Lee County in Florida and appeared in court in Pittsburgh via video link from a jail in Allegheny County, PA. 

He was denied bail and the judge said she believed him to be a flight risk, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports

While it’s unclear whether the charges in Pennsylvania were related to the 28-year-old pitcher’s charges in Florida, authorities said he faced extradition to Lee County from the Allegheny County jail where he’s currently being held. 

“Today, we were made aware of an active law enforcement investigation involving Felipe Vazquez and his subsequent arrest,” Pirates president Frank Coonelly said in a statement Tuesday (September 17), according to Major League Baseball

“We take this matter, and these charges in particular, extremely seriously,” Coonelly continued. “We have informed the Commissioner’s Office of the investigation and arrest. The Commissioner’s Office will immediately place Felipe Vazquez on administrative leave [and, as a result, restricted list] pursuant to the Joint MLB/MLBPA Policy.”

Vazquez, who will continue to be paid while on administrative leave, is scheduled for an extradition hearing at the Allegheny County Courthouse on Sept. 25, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

“We need to be respectful to all involved and the ongoing legal proceeding,” Coonelly added. “As a result, the organization, our staff and players cannot comment any further at this time.” 

By Tuesday afternoon, Vazquez’s locker at PNC Park was cleaned out and the images of him on the exterior of the stadium and in promotional material around the ballpark were removed, according to MLB.com

“We’re human beings. You can feel it in your stomach,” Pirates’ starter Chris Archer said, according to MLB.com, adding that the players were unaware of anything beyond what has been publicly reported. “There’s definitely an uneasiness.” 

(Photo: Dave Arrigo/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

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