Pirates' Vazquez arrested for solicitation of a child, pornography
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Pittsburgh Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez was arrested Tuesday morning on charges of pornography and soliciting a child, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). Pennsylvania police filed four more charges against him later Tuesday, including statutory sexual assault.
In August, FDLE investigators were told that Vazquez had a "sexual relationship" with a 13-year-old girl residing in Lee County, Florida, and he allegedly continued to contact her via text messages. She is now 15.
Vazquez was initially charged with one count of computer pornography - solicitation of a child and one count of providing obscene material to minors. He was taken to the Allegheny County Jail in Pittsburgh. Police seized several electronic devices when Vazquez was arrested.
Vazquez was denied bond at his arraignment hearing on the Florida charges Tuesday afternoon, according to Jason Mackey and Shelly Bradbury of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The Pirates announced that Vazquez will immediately be placed on the restricted list.
The 15-year-old girl told police that she first met Vazquez when he was in the Pirates' bullpen at PNC Park, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan. Florida investigators said Vazquez sent her a video that showed him performing a sex act in July. The 28-year-old also allegedly sent her text messages "suggesting they would meet for sex after his baseball season was over," according to the FDLE.
The charges filed against Vazquez in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, are: statutory sexual assault of a victim who is under the age of 16 by a person who is at least 11 years older than the victim; unlawful contact with a minor; corruption of a minor by a defendant who is 18 years old or older; and indecent assault of a person less than 16 years old, according to court records accessed by David Kaplan of WTAE. These charges relate to an alleged incident that occurred Aug. 1, 2018.
Vazquez faces extradition to Florida, and his next scheduled court appearance is an extradition hearing Sept. 25.
Pennsylvania police will hold a news conference to address the charges at 11 a.m. ET Wednesday.
Pirates president Frank Coonelly issued the following statement after news of Vazquez's arrest:
Today we were made aware of an active law enforcement investigation involving Felipe Vazquez and his subsequent arrest. 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 Vazquez 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.