Pirates pitcher Vázquez faces more charges in alleged sex assault case

Pirates’ Vázquez held in case involving alleged sex assault
Westmoreland County Prison
Former Pittsburgh Pirates' closer Felipe Vazquez is being held at the Westmoreland County Prison in Pennsylvania.

Felipe Vázquez, the Pittsburgh Pirates closer facing allegations of statutory sexual assault and other crimes, was hit with 21 additional charges Tuesday, according to the district attorney’s office in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

The All-Star pitcher is now facing 10 additional counts of unlawful contact with a minor, 10 child pornography counts and one additional count of corruption of a minor, according to Westmoreland County Assistant District Attorney Jim Lazar.

Vázquez was already facing charges of statutory sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor, corruption of a minor and other charges following his September arrest in Pennsylvania.

Vázquez’s attorney did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

The case stems from an August 2017 assault on the teenage girl in Vázquez’s Ford Mustang at the bottom of the driveway of her home in Scottdale, some 30 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, according to a Pennsylvania criminal complaint released in September.

Vázquez admitted to a sexual encounter with the then-13-year-old girl that he described as “sex but not really,” the complaint said.

Vázquez told police he didn’t remember the girl’s name but acknowledged knowing her after seeing a photo, according to the complaint.

He told investigators the girl first messaged him on Instagram but said he initially “refused to communicate with her due to her age,” the complaint said.

“The accused advised the Victim looked too young and that she appeared to be 16 years of age or younger,” according to the complaint.

Vázquez described the encounter to investigators as “sex but not really” because “he could not fit his penis entirely into the Victim’s vagina,” according to the complaint.

The girl told police that Vázquez gave up, the complaint said. Vázquez told police that he told the girl he needed to leave because the Pirates had a game that night. As recently as July 2019, he contacted the girl with a lewd message, according to the complaint.

An exchange of phone numbers, then explicit photos

Vázquez, a two-time All-Star who was among the National League leaders in saves this past season, began messaging the teen on social media in 2017 and they exchanged phone numbers, according to the complaint.

The complaint also said Vázquez and the girl exchanged explicit photos of themselves.

Police said the encounter between Vázquez and the teen — who now lives in Florida — came to light after the girl’s mother discovered explicit messages, photos and video on her daughter’s phone.

The mother first saw a message Vázquez sent her daughter in July, saying: “I can’t wait to see you during the off-season,” according to a separate complaint filed in Lee County, Florida.

The Florida complaint said the girl first met Vázquez after taking a photo with him outside the bullpen in Pittsburgh. She contacted him on social media. They had been messaging each other electronically for three years, according to the court document.

When Vázquez was arrested September 17, he initially faced felony counts of soliciting a child for unlawful sexual conduct using computer services or devices and giving obscene material to a minor in Lee County, Florida, according to a Florida Department of Law Enforcement statement. When investigators spoke with him, he admitted to the alleged sexual assault, police said.

The Pirates say the Major League Baseball commissioner’s office has placed Vázquez on administrative leave.

The Florida investigation began in August after authorities received information that Vázquez had “a reported sexual relationship” with a resident there who was 13 at the time, the statement said. The girl is now 15.

Vázquez allegedly sent the teen photographs and a video from his cell phone July 16, according to a state court affidavit filed in Florida. The Pirates had a game in St. Louis on that date.

The affidavit said the photos and video did not show the suspect’s face but authorities were able to identify him through “numerous tattoos” on his body that are “unique and distinguishable.”

Vázquez faces additional charges in Florida. A Pennsylvania judge blocked Vázquez’s extradition to that state Tuesday, pending the resolution of his Pennsylvania charges. He is being held without bond in Pennsylvania.

CNN’s Carma Hassan contributed to this report.