Court papers detail child sex allegations against Pirates pitcher Felipe Vazquez | TribLIVE.com
Westmoreland

Court papers detail child sex allegations against Pirates pitcher Felipe Vazquez

1689855_web1_ptr-Vaz-091919
AP
State police in Greensburg allege suspended Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Felipe Vazquez had inappropriate contact with a former Scottdale teenager and exchanged sexual messages with her for two years, according to court documents.

Felipe Vazquez, the jailed and suspended All-Star relief pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates, had inappropriate sexual contact with a former Scottdale teen and exchanged explicit sexual messages with the girl for two years, state police in Greensburg detailed in court documents.

Vazquez drove to the girl’s home in Scottdale in August 2017, when she was 13, and sexually assaulted her in the front seat of his red Ford Mustang while it was parked in the driveway of her home, troopers reported.

The allegations came to light in August when the girl’s mother found explicit messages on her phone and reported the situation to police in Florida, where the family now lives. Florida Department of Law Enforcement, of FDLE, reported the situation to Pennsylvania authorities last month, Trooper Steve Limani said.

Vazquez is charged with statutory sexual assault, unlawful contact, corruption of minors and indecent assault. His attorney did not immediately return a phone message.

Troopers arrested Vazquez Tuesday in Pittsburgh on a Florida warrant. He is being held in the Allegheny County Jail without bail. Vazquez is accused of sending sexually explicit photos to the girl in Lee County and soliciting sex via text message, according to FDLE.

Pennsylvania authorities intend to keep him until the case is closed, Limani said.

“We have no intention of having him leave Pennsylvania until we can get this cleared up,” he said.

State troopers arrested Vazquez on the Florida warrant at his Strip District apartment. While being interviewed by troopers at his residence before 8 a.m., Vazquez admitted that he knew the Westmoreland County girl after being shown her photograph, though he initially claimed he refused to communicate with her “due to her age … because she appeared too young and that she appeared to be 16 years of age or younger,” according to court papers filed before East Huntingdon District Judge Charles Moore.

However, Trooper Michael Thompson said in court documents that evidence from the investigation indicates the 28-year-old pitcher exchanged with the girl multiple text messages, nude photographs and messages via social media and cellphone through July 2019.

“Nevertheless, Vazquez admitted to receiving via cellular photographs of the victim in various stages of nudity and eventually committing sexual acts on herself,” Thompson wrote in court documents. “In response, (Vazquez) sent her photographs and videos of himself in various stages of nudity and committing sexual acts on himself to the victim’s residence in Scottdale.”

After being pressured by troopers about the text messages, Vazquez admitted to driving to the girl’s house in Scottdale, Thompson reported. Vazquez told troopers he and the girl touched each other sexually inside his car and described the girl as “already being ready,” according to court documents.

“Ready for what?” investigators asked.

“Sex,” Vazquez responded.

The accused pitcher then told investigators he had “sex but not really” with the girl before telling her he had to leave because he had a game that night, Thompson reported.

There are consistencies between what the girl told investigators and Vazquez’s statements to police, Limani said.

“Those consistencies would be consistencies generally only the two people involved in that type of incident would have the information for,” he said.

An extradition hearing is scheduled for Sept. 25 in Allegheny County court for the Florida charges of giving obscene material to a minor and soliciting a child for unlawful sexual conduct. Limani said Pennsylvania authorities have a detainer.

The Florida complaint said that the investigation began Aug. 8, two weeks after the now-15-year-old girl’s mother discovered text messages, photos and a video Vazquez sent to her daughter.

The explicit conversations began when the girl was 13, according to FDLE.

Investigators wrote that while the photos and video sent to the child did not show Vazquez’s face, they did show his tattoos. A comparison to photos of Vazquez online showed the tattoos were the same, police wrote.

Authorities described the photos allegedly sent by Vazquez as “sexually explicit” and the video showed him “performing a sex act,” according to a heavily-redacted complaint.

Police said Vazquez solicited sex from the girl, indicating via text message that they would “meet for sex after his baseball season was over.”

Investigators in Pennsylvania seized electronics from Vazquez’s Pittsburgh apartment upon his arrest. Officers said more charges could be filed after they are examined.

Vazquez was placed on administrative leave from the Pirates. He was a two-time All-Star and the team’s most reliable pitcher over the past three seasons. Vazquez was acquired during the 2016 season in a trade with the Washington Nationals.

In more than three seasons with the Pirates, he has compiled a 15-9 record, 86 saves, a 2.17 ERA and 1.079 WHIP. He is 5-1 with 1.65 ERA and 28 saves this season. He was highly coveted at the trade deadline, but the Pirates’ asking price was high enough to keep him in Pittsburgh.

He was fined this month by the team for his involvement in a fight with a teammate.

Last year, the Venezuela native legally changed his name from Felipe Rivero. At the time, he said he did it to match the surname of his sister, who negotiated his contract extension with the Pirates prior to spring training in 2018. The contract, which runs through 2021 with club options for 2022 and 2023, is worth $22 million in guarantees and potentially $41 million over the six years, MLB.com reported.

Renatta Signorini and Paul Peirce are Tribune-Review staff writers. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, [email protected] or via Twitter @byrenatta. You can contact Paul at 724-850-2860, [email protected] or via Twitter @ppeirce_trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.