Pittsburgh Pirate Pitcher Charged With Child Pornography and Sexual Assault

By - November 20, 2019
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Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Felipe Vazquez, who was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl in September, was hit with 21 more charges this week. Investigators allegedly found evidence of child pornography on his cell phone and laptop associated with the same case.

District Judge Charles Moore in Mount Pleasant PA denied Vazquez’s request to be released on a bond of $1 million while he awaits his trial. The 28-year-old Major League Baseball All-Star from Venezuela offered to relinquish his passport and green card and be under house arrest, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. (Foxnews.com).

His lawyer argued that Vazquez would not flee because of his major league baseball talent and the fact that he could easily play another 10 years and make millions of dollars. His attorney added that his client had done a mental health evaluation that concluded that he has normal sexual urges for a 28-year-old man, and he is not a predator.

But Assistant District Attorney Jim Lazar argued that no bail should be set because Vaquez could be deported to Venezuela if he is convicted and he is a major flight risk. He also said that Vazquez made an ‘incalculably stupid decision’ to engage in any sexual activity with a 13-year-old girl and should be considered a high flight risk simply because of his high income.

In the end, the judge sided with the prosecution because he was uncomfortable putting the baseball player back into the community while facing such serious charges. (Triblive.com)

Vazquez Charged With Sexual Assault in September

Vazquez first got in legal hot water in September 2019 when he was charged with statutory sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor, corruption of minors, and indecent assault of a person younger in connection with an inappropriate relationship he allegedly had with a 13-year-old in 2017 who first connected to him on social media.

During the preliminary hearing this week, state trooper Michael Thompson testified that the major leaguer admitted to having sexual intercourse with the girl in the driveway of her home in Scottsdale, PA, after driving an hour to meet her. At first, the trooper said, he said nothing had happened between them. He said that she was only 13; Vazquez was 26 at the time of the alleged incident.

However, he later told the trooper that he had gotten the tip of his penis into the girl’s vagina before he stopped. Vazquez also said he met the girl while he was in the bullpen at the baseball park in Pittsburgh. He said he communicated with her through text messages and social media. He also allegedly said that he sent her nude pictures and videos of himself doing sexual acts. Vazquez added that at first he would not communicate with her because she was only 13.

The Girl, Now 16, Lives in Florida

The girl, who is now 16, told police that the baseball pitcher drove to her house about an hour outside Pittsburgh in August 2017. When he got there, the girl got into his car. She said that Vazquez put her on his lap, took her pants off, and tried to have sex with her. Vazquez then said he had to leave because he had to pitch that night. (ESPN.com)

More Charges Could Result in Decades in Prison, If Convicted

The 21 additional child pornography charges were added this week after police found several photos and three videos Vazquez and the girl exchanged where they were both nude to some degree. The sexually explicit pictures were discovered on electronic devices that were confiscated from the man when he was first arrested.

The additional state charges include 10 counts of child pornography, 10 counts of unlawful contact with a minor, and a single count of corruption with a minor, according to The New York Post.

The Pennsylvania judge also rejected a request to extradite the pitcher to Florida where he has been charged with solicitation of a child and giving obscene material to a minor related to the same case. The mother of the girl first reported the crimes from Florida. She told the baseball pitcher that he was dealing with a minor after finding the text messages on her daughter’s phone.

Vazquez Made His Major League Debut in 2015

Vazquez has been one of major league baseball’s best relievers since he joined the Pirates in a 2016 trade with the Washington Nationals, earning 85 saves for Pittsburgh and was twice selected for the All-Star Game. He signed a four-year $22 million contract in 2018 and had options that could keep him in Pittsburgh through 2023. (Nytimes.com). He has appeared in more than 300 games in his career.

If he is convicted on all charges, he could face several decades in prison for sexually assaulting a minor and possessing child pornography.

Geoffrey G. Nathan, Esq.

About Geoffrey G. Nathan, Esq.

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