• Pirates player Felipe Vazquez facing statutory sex assault, among other charges

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    PITTSBURGH - Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star closer Felipe Vazquez was denied bail a second time following his arrest for multiple charges, including solicitation of a child and pornography. 

    Channel 11's Rick Earle just learned that Pennsylvania State Police plan to keep Vazquez in Pennsylvania to prosecute the case they have against him here. 

    Vazquez appeared before a judge on Tuesday and was denied bail. Late Tuesday night, he appeared again before a judge on new charges and was denied bail again.

    He is expected to be arraigned on those charges by video arraignment Wednesday afternoon, according to state police. 

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    According to a release from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Vazquez was arrested around 11 a.m. Tuesday for "one count of computer pornography, solicitation of a child and one count of providing obscene materials to minors."

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    Officials said the investigation into Vazquez, 28, began in August 2019 after they obtained information that Vazquez had a reported sexual relationship with a 13-year-old girl who lives in Lee County, Florida.

    According to a police report, the victim told investigators she met Vazquez at PNC Park when they took a photo outside the bullpen. Shortly after, police said the victim found him on social media, and their relationship "escalated from there."

    PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 21: Felipe Vazquez #73 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during the ninth inning against the San Diego Padres at PNC Park on June 21, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
    PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 21: Felipe Vazquez #73 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during the ninth inning against the San Diego Padres at PNC Park on June 21, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
    2019 Getty Images

    The victim told police Vazquez once drove to her home to visit her in Westmoreland County. At one point during the visit, police said Vazquez tried to have sex with her inside his car. We are choosing not to describe the details of that incident due to their explicit nature. 

    Additional charges were also filed against Vazquez in Westmoreland County. He is charged with statutory sex assault stemming from the incident in the car there in August 2018.

    That victim, who is now 15-years-old, continued to "have a relationship" with Vazquez via text messages and received a sexually explicit video from him in July, according to the release.

    According to an affidavit from Westmoreland County, Vazquez admitted to investigators on Tuesday that the victim "looked too young and that she appeared to be 16 years of age or younger." Police said Vazquez told them he initially refused to communicate with her due to her age.


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    Vazquez is also accused of sending the victim text messages suggesting they would meet for sex after his baseball season was over. During an interview with investigators on Sept. 17 following his arrest, police said Vazquez admitted to receiving sexually explicit photos of the victim -- and eventually sending similar photos of himself to her.

    According to the criminal complaint, Vazquez told investigators they attempted to have sex inside his car outside her home in Scottdale, Pa. about two years ago. They stopped, and he told the victim that he "had to leave because he had a game that night."

    The affidavit identified two photos and one video sent by Vazquez to the victim, but it did not describe the contents of them. Police said they were able to identify Vazquez as the man in the video by the "numerous tattoos" on his body, even though his face was not in any photo or video.

    According to the complaint, the victim's mother sent a text message to Vazquez on July 23 informing him that the victim was a minor. After investigators examined the victim's iPhone XR, officials said it was the source of those sexually explicit messages.

    JULY 31: Felipe Vazquez #73 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in the ninth inning against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park on July 31, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
    JULY 31: Felipe Vazquez #73 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in the ninth inning against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park on July 31, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
    2018 Getty Images

    FDLE agents, with assistance from Pennsylvania State Police, served a search warrant Tuesday at Vazquez's apartment on Railroad Street in Pittsburgh. 

    Officials said several electronic devices were seized and will be examined as part of the investigation.

    Vazquez was taken to the Allegheny County Jail, where he will face extradition to Lee County. 

    According to Pirates President Frank Coonelly, Vazquez was immediately placed by the MLB on administrative leave and the restricted list.

    The Pirates released a statement Tuesday following the arrest:

    "Today we were made aware of an active law enforcement investigation involving Felipe Vázquez 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 Vázquez 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."


     

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