Thu, Sep 19, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Pirates’ Vazquez arrested on teen solicitation charges

Reuters

Felipe Vazquez, a star relief pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates, was arrested in Pennsylvania on Tuesday on charges of soliciting an underage girl for sex and sending her an obscene video, authorities said.

Florida authorities began investigating the Venezuelan-born Vazquez last month after learning of allegations he had a sexual relationship with a teenager in Lee County, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said in a statement.

The girl is now 15.

In a video that Vazquez sent to the girl in July, he performed an unspecified sexual act, the statement said.

Vazquez could not immediately be reached for comment.

The MLB in a statement said that Vazquez was placed on administrative leave after his arrest.

“We take this matter, and these charges in particular, extremely seriously,” Pittsburgh Pirates president Frank Coonelly said in a statement.

Vazquez, an All-Star pitcher whose nickname is Nightmare, also sent text messages to the teenager suggesting they meet for sex once baseball season was over, the statement said.

The girl’s mother discovered a message, photographs and video that Vazquez sent her daughter, and sent a text message to Vazquez to tell him the girl was a minor, according to an arrest warrant affidavit filed in court.

Vazquez was charged with one count of computer pornography for the purpose of soliciting a child and one count of providing obscene material.

Vazquez was taken into custody without incident at his home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is a resident of Saint Cloud, Florida.

He was held in Allegheny County Jail and was due to be extradited to Florida to be prosecuted, the statement said.

Vazquez was scheduled to appear before a magistrate in Alleghany County, for an arraignment hearing, Pennsylvania State Police spokesman Steve Limani said in an e-mail.

Vazquez has been one of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ biggest stars over the past few seasons after he was acquired from the Washington Nationals in 2016 during a mid-season trade.

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