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Statutory sex assault charge added in Pirate pitcher’s arrest

By Staff | Sep 19, 2019

Two-time National League All-Star and closer for the Pittsburgh Pirates has been arrested in Lee County, accused of sending a Florida teen a video that showed him performing a sex act.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents, with assistance from the Pennsylvania State Police, arrested Felipe Vazquez, 28, of Saint Cloud, Fla. on Tuesday, charging him with one count of computer pornography — solicitation of a child and one count of providing obscene material to minors.

Vazquez was taken into custody in Pittsburgh on the felony warrant out of Lee County. Vazquez is being charged there with statutory sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor and corruption of minors, all felonies, and a misdemeanor count of indecent assault of a person under 16 years old.

Pennsylvania authorities began investigating Vazquez in August after being contacted by FDLE. The girl’s mother contacted Florida officials after learning of an alleged sexual interaction between Vazquez and a teenage girl living in Lee County.

“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,” a release from FDLE states. “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. Additionally, Vazquez allegedly sent the victim text messages suggesting they would meet for sex after his baseball season was over.”

FDLE agents and Pennsylvania State Police served a search warrant Tuesday at Vazquez’s apartment in Pittsburgh, the release states.

“Several electronic devices were seized and will be examined as part of this investigation. Additional charges are dependent upon completion of forensic exams,” according to the release.

Vazquez was taken to the Allegheny County Jail, where he will face extradition to Lee County at some point.

The case will be prosecuted here by the Office of the State Attorney, 20th Judicial Circuit.

A statement from Pirates president Frank Coonelly regarding Vazquez released Tuesday said, “Today we were made aware of an active law enforcement investigation involving Felipe Vazquez and his subsequent arrest. We take this matter, and these charges in particular, extremely seriously. 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. We need to be respectful to all involved and the ongoing legal proceeding. As a result, the organization, our staff and players cannot comment any further at this time.”

Major League Baseball placed Vazquez on administrative leave under its agreement with the players’ association on handling domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse. Administrative leave is not considered discipline. Vazquez goes on the restricted list and continues to receive his $4 million salary but is ineligible to play.

– Information from the Associated Press is included in this report.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj