Former Pittsburgh Pirates Player Found Guilty of Sexual Assault

Former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Felipe Vazquez was found guilty Thursday of statutory sexual assault, abuse of children and child pornography, among other charges, according to ESPN. A jury in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, found Vazquez guilty on 15 counts. He was also found not guilty on 10 counts of unlawful contact or communication with a minor. The girl in the case was 13 at the time of the incident, while Vazquez was 26.

Vazquez's testimony was heard from the jury on Thursday, arguing that the girl misled him about his age. After the closing arguments, the jury deliberated for four hours before reaching its verdict. Along with the charges in Pennsylvania, Vazquez faces charges in Florida and Missouri in connection with the alleged behavior with the girl. Vazquez was arrested in September 2019 after officials "obtained information that Vazquez had a reported sexual relationship with a 13-year-old female." The alleged victim received text messages from Vazquez that said he would meet up with her after the season, according to authorities. It was also reported the girl received a video where the veteran pitcher is performing a sex act.

After the arrest, the Pirates released a statement. "Today we were made aware of an active law enforcement investigation involving Felipe Vázquez and his subsequent arrest, the statement said. "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 Vázquez 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."

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Shortly after the arrest, Vazquez admitted to having a sexual encounter with the girl. The incident happened in August 2017, and when police interviewed Vazquez, he said it was "sex but not really." After the incident, the girl's family moved from Pennsylvania to Florida, and the mother found out the girl was still communicating with Vazquez, leading her to call the authorities. Vazquez, 29, was one of the top pitchers in MLB before his arrest. He was selected to play in the All-Star game in 2018 and 2019, and those were seasons where he had a total of 55 saves.