Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Felipe Vazquez admitted to police that he had sexual contact with a 13-year-old girl hours before a game in 2017 and exchanged nude photographs and videos with her, according to a criminal complaint released Wednesday by the Pennsylvania State Police.
Vazquez was arrested Tuesday and charged with three felonies, including statutory sexual assault and unlawful contact with a minor. The age of consent in Pennsylvania is 16.
Vazquez was also charged with computer pornography offenses in Florida, where he lives in the off-season and where the girl’s family also lives now. The authorities said at a news conference Wednesday that the girl, who is now 15, was the victim in both the Pennsylvania and Florida cases. Vazquez was held without bond in an Allegheny County jail after a judge denied him bail on Tuesday.
According to the Pennsylvania criminal complaint, Vazquez told police on Tuesday morning that the girl first contacted him on Instagram in 2017. An incident report from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office in Florida said Vazquez met the girl in person at the Pirates’ stadium, where the two took a picture together outside the bullpen. Vazquez told authorities he initially declined to communicate with the girl on social media because of how young she looked, but after she began sending him nude photographs, he responded by sending her nude photographs of himself.
Sometime in 2017, the complaint said, Vazquez drove to the girl’s home in Scottdale, Pa., about 40 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. The girl got into the passenger seat of Vazquez’s Ford Mustang and they had sexual contact.
Vazquez eventually left, telling the girl he had a game that night. He continued sending her text messages until as recently as two months ago, according to the complaint. The girl told the police a similar story in August when interviewed.
The investigation began after the girl’s mother found text messages and photographs, which the police said were sent by Vazquez, on the girl’s phone in late July. The mother contacted the police, according to the incident report from the Lee County Sheriff’s office.
Vazquez was placed on administrative leave by the Major League Baseball’s commissioner’s office after being arrested Tuesday, meaning he is ineligible to play but still receives pay. Banners bearing Vazquez’s image were taken down from outside the Pirates’ stadium, PNC Park, before Tuesday’s game against the Seattle Mariners.
“We take this matter, and these charges in particular, extremely seriously,” said Frank Coonelly, the Pirates president, in a statement on Tuesday.
Kevin Draper is a sports business reporter, covering the leagues, owners, unions, stadiums and media companies behind the games. Prior to joining The Times, he was an editor at Deadspin. @kevinmdraper