Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez held without bail on child sex charges in Westmoreland County
Suspended Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Felipe Vazquez arrived at a Westmoreland County courtroom Wednesday and shook hands with a district judge before being arraigned on child sex allegations.
The Venezuela native wore dark frame glasses, a blue jail uniform and had his hands cuffed in front of him. An interpreter translated for him during the brief hearing in East Huntingdon.
District Judge Charles Moore ordered Vazquez be held without bail. Attorneys representing Vazquez didn’t challenge the issue.
“It was our intention … that we would be requesting that bond be denied in this matter, and we understand, at this juncture, the defense is agreeable to that,” Assistant District Attorney Jim Lazar said.
“Indeed, your honor, that is correct. We are not pursuing bond at this juncture,” attorney Michael Comer said.
Afterward, Vazquez and Comer declined to comment. Vazquez will remain in the Westmoreland County Prison.
A preliminary hearing is set for Oct. 9.
Sheriff’s deputies this week transported the 28-year-old relief pitcher from the Allegheny County Jail, where he had been held since Sept. 17 in connection with two sex-related allegations involving a former Scottdale teenage girl.
Vazquez was arrested at his Strip District home Sept. 17 by Pennsylvania State Police, who served an arrest warrant from Florida police. Authorities there accuse Vazquez of sending sexually explicit photos to the girl, who now lives in Florida, and soliciting sex via text message.
Pennsylvania troopers the same day filed sexual assault charges against Vazquez, alleging that he drove to the girl’s home in Scottdale in August 2017, when she was 13. He is accused of sexually assaulting her in his red Ford Mustang, which he parked in the driveway of her home.
Vazquez had been held without bail in Allegheny County since his arrest.
The allegations came to light in August when the girl’s mother found explicit messages on her phone and called police in Florida. Authorities there reported the situation to Pennsylvania police.
Vazquez is charged with statutory sexual assault, unlawful contact, corruption of minors and indecent assault in Westmoreland County. State police intend to keep him here until the case is resolved.
He is charged in Florida with giving obscene material to a minor and soliciting a child for unlawful sexual conduct.
During an interview with troopers last week, Vazquez admitted to touching the girl and attempting to have sex with her, according to court papers.
She was not present at Wednesday’s court proceeding.
Vazquez, a two-time All-Star, was placed on administrative leave from the Pirates. He was acquired during the 2016 season in a trade with the Washington Nationals.
Last year, he legally changed his name from Felipe Rivero.
Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, [email protected] or via Twitter .