Pittsburgh Pirates Pitcher Felipe Vázquez Accused of Soliciting a Child for Unlawful Sexual Conduct
Felipe Vázquez, a pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates, was taken into custody on Tuesday after he allegedly had a sexual relationship with a minor via text messaging.
Vázquez, 28, was arrested in Pittsburgh after authorities obtained a search warrant out of Lee County, Florida — the same place where the minor he had allegedly been contacting was from, according to a press release from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).
The two-time All-Star pitcher faces one count of computer pornography, solicitation of a child and one count of providing obscene material to minors, the FDLE announced.
When contacted by PEOPLE, an attorney for Vázquez said his legal team was “in the process of reviewing both the Pennsylvania and Florida charging documents, as well as the underlying facts of the matter.”
“At this time, any comment would be premature,” the attorney added.
Authorities began their investigation on Vázquez last month, after learning that the Venezuelan MLB player was allegedly having a sexual relationship with a then-13-year-old female from Lee County.
The girl, who is now 15 years old, continued to have a relationship with Vázquez via text messaging and even allegedly received an explicit video from the professional pitcher in July, showing him “performing a sex act,” the FDLE said.
Through their series of text messages, Vázquez also told the girl that they would meet up for sex at the end of his baseball season, according to the FDLE.
In a state court affidavit filed in Florida and obtained by CNN, Vázquez allegedly sent the victim photos and a video from his cell phone on July 16, but did not disclose his face. However, authorities were able to identify him through “numerous tattoos” on his body that were characterized as “unique and distinguishable.”
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After finding the explicit content and text message exchanges on her daughter’s phone, the girl’s mother allegedly texted Vázquez on July 23 to notify him that the victim was a minor, the affidavit states.
FDLE agents and Pennsylvania State Police who arrived at Vazquez’s Pittsburgh apartment on Tuesday seized several of his electronic devices for examination and additional charges are pending the completion of forensic exams.
Vázquez, meanwhile, was transported to the Allegheny County Jail in Pittsburgh, the FDLE said. The Pirates pitcher faces extradition to Lee County, Florida, and his case will be prosecuted by the Office of the State Attorney, 20th Judicial Circuit.
Following the news of his arrest, Pirates president Frank Coonelly issued a statement on the MLB team’s website and revealed that Vázquez would be placed on administrative leave and restricted list until further notice.
“Today we were made aware of an active law enforcement investigation involving Felipe Vázquez and his subsequent arrest,” Coonelly said. “We take this matter, and these charges in particular, extremely seriously.”
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“We have informed the Commissioner’s Office of the investigation and arrest,” he continued. “The Commissioner’s Office will immediately place Felipe Vázquez on Administrative Leave (and, as a result, Restricted List) pursuant to the Joint MLB/MLBPA Policy.”
Added Coonelly: “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.”
Vázquez, a lefty All-Star pitcher, held a 5-1 record on the 2019 season with an earned run average of 1.65, 90 strikeouts and 28 saves, according to Baseball-Reference.
Prior to his time on the Pirates, Vázquez played two years for the Washington Nationals.