Pirates’ Vázquez held in case involving alleged sex assault
Pittsburgh Pirates closer Felipe Vázquez was ordered held without bond Wednesday following his arrest on charges of statutory sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor and other counts, according to CNN affiliate KDKA.
Vázquez, 28, who was arrested last week, arrived in a Westmoreland County court in a dark prison uniform and shackles and escorted by two officers for the short arraignment hearing before District Judge Charles Moore.
The judge ordered that Vázquez continue to be held without bond. He is due back in court October 9.
“Given the nature of the various charges pending in different jurisdictions, it would not be appropriate to comment further at this time,” Vázquez’s lawyer, Michael Comber, told CNN.
The case stems from an August 2017 assault on the teenage girl in Vázquez’s Ford Mustang at the bottom of the driveway of her home in Scottdale, about 30 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, according to a Pennsylvania criminal complaint released one week ago.
Vázquez admitted to a sexual encounter with the then-13-year-old girl that he described as “sex but not really,” the complaint said.
Vázquez told police he didn’t remember the girl’s name but acknowledged knowing her after seeing a photo, according to the complaint.
He told investigators the girl first messaged him on Instagram but said he initially “refused to communicate with her due to her age,” the complaint said.
“The accused advised the Victim looked too young and that she appeared to be 16 years of age or younger,” according to the complaint.
Vázquez described the encounter to investigators as “sex but not really” because “he could not fit his penis entirely into the Victim’s vagina,” according to the complaint.
The girl told police that Vázquez gave up, the complaint said. Vázquez told police that he told the girl he needed to leave because the Pirates had a game that night. As recently as July 2019, he contacted the girl with a lewd message, according to the complaint.
He and the girl had exchanged explicit photos
Vázquez, a two-time All-Star who’s among the National League leaders in saves this season, began messaging the teen on social media in 2017 and they exchanged phone numbers, according to the complaint.
The complaint also said Vázquez and the girl exchanged explicit photos of themselves.
Police said the encounter between Vázquez and the teen — who now lives in Florida — came to light after the girl’s mother discovered explicit messages, photos and video on her daughter’s phone.
The mother first saw a message Vázquez sent her daughter in July, saying: “I can’t wait to see you during the off-season,” according to a separate complaint filed in Lee County, Florida.
The Florida complaint said the girl first met Vázquez after taking a photo with him outside the bullpen in Pittsburgh. She contacted him on social media. They had been messaging each other electronically for three years, according to the court document.
When Vázquez was arrested September 17, he initially faced felony counts of soliciting a child for unlawful sexual conduct using computer services or devices and giving obscene material to a minor in Lee County, Florida, according to a Florida Department of Law Enforcement statement. When investigators spoke with him, he admitted to the alleged sexual assault, police said.
The Pirates say Major League Baseball commissioner’s office has placed Vázquez on administrative leave.
The Florida investigation began in August after authorities received information that Vázquez had “a reported sexual relationship” with a resident there who was 13 at the time, the statement said. The girl is now 15.
Vázquez allegedly sent the teen photographs and a video from his cell phone on July 16, according to a state court affidavit filed in Florida. The Pirates had a game in St. Louis on that date.
The affidavit said the photos and video did not show the suspect’s face but authorities were able to identify him through “numerous tattoos” on his body that are “unique and distinguishable.”