Felipe Vazquez, former MLB All-Star sentenced for having sex with 13-year-old
Former pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Felipe Vazquez was sentenced to two to four years in prison after being found guilty of sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl.
Vazquez who was an all-star in 2018 and 2019 was convicted in May on 15 counts, including statutory sexual assault, sexual abuse of children, child pornography, and corruption of minors.
“Former MLB All-Star Felipe Vazquez has just been sentenced to two to four years behind bars after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl,” TMZ reported.
The 29-year-old Venezuelan national was arrested in September 2019 and told police that he had “sex but not really” with the girl in 2017, according to the Pennsylvania criminal complaint. His sentencing includes an additional two years of probation.
Vazquez’s lawyer says the girl misled him about her age after having sex in his Ford Mustang outside her home before a Pirates game. The two formed a relationship online that lasted for multiple years.
“The jury believed he used his position as a professional athlete to prey upon a young girl,” Assistant District Attorney Jim Lazar said in May.
Vazquez’s defense called it a case of “reverse grooming,” saying Vazquez didn’t know she was a minor when he established a sexual relationship with her.
He was found not guilty of 10 other counts of unlawful contact or communication with a minor, relating to sexually explicit text messages he and the teen exchanged throughout their online relationship.
The victim’s mother found the messages on her daughter’s phone who then altered police. Investigators were able to match “unique and distinguishable” tattoos on Vazquez’s body to publicly available photos online.
Major League Baseball placed Vazquez on their restricted list following his arrest and has not been authorized to play since. In 2018, he signed a four-year, $22.5 million contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates.