Pirates' Pitcher Held on Sexual Assault of a Minor

Court denies bail, and MLB puts Felipe Vázquez on leave
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 17, 2019 5:16 PM CDT
Pirates' Closer Charged With Sexual Crimes Against Minors
Felipe Vazquez pitches to a San Francisco Giants batter last week.   (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Felipe Vázquez, a pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates, was arrested Tuesday on a series of charges, including the sexual assault of a child. He faces felony counts in Pennsylvania and Florida, ESPN reports. Vázquez was denied bail at arraignment in Pittsburgh. Felony charges include soliciting a child for unlawful sexual conduct using computer services or device, unlawful contact with a minor, and the corruption of minors. He also faces a misdemeanor count of indecent assault of a person less than 16 years old. Major League Baseball immediately put Vázquez on administrative leave, and the Pirates issued a statement saying they take the charges "extremely seriously" and will not otherwise comment.

The investigation began in Florida last month after a tip that Vázquez, a 28-year-old native of Venezuela, had a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old girl, per CNN. Florida and Pennsylvania agencies said officers searched his apartment in Pittsburgh and took several electronic devices. The Pirates, who will owe Vázquez $5.25 million for the 2020 season and $7.25 million for 2021, could try to void the contract of the two-time All-Star closer. Those efforts don't always succeed, though, even if criminal behavior is involved. A hearing is scheduled for Sept. 25 to decide on extradition to Florida, per KDKA. (A Phillies outfielder was suspended for the season under baseball's domestic violence policy.)

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