Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Felipe Vazquez has been arrested for soliciting a child for sexual acts, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) said.
Agents from the FDLE and Pennsylvania State Police took the 28-year-old Vazquez into custody in Pittsburgh on Tuesday morning on one count of soliciting a child for unlawful sexual conduct using computer services or devices and one count of providing obscene material to minors.
“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,” said Pirates president Frank Coonelly in a statement Tuesday.
”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.”
The FDLE said its investigation began last month when agents became aware of a sexual relationship and a 13-year-old female victim, who is now 15. The two continued having a relationship over text messages, and the child received a video in July from Vazquez “in which he is shown performing a sex act.” The suspect also sent texts insinuating that the two would meet up after the baseball season for sex.
According to the arrest affidavit obtained by USA TODAY Sports, the victim’s mother discovered the messages, two pictures and a video one week after they were sent to the victim on July 16. At that point, the mother told the suspect he was communicating with a minor. Police began an investigation on Aug. 8.
The photographs and video did not show the suspect’s face, but the images “depicted numerous tattoos about the suspect’s body.” Officials found the suspect’s tattoos “unique and distinguishable,” and identified Vazquez. Additionally, the telephone number attached to the messages, videos and photos belongs to Vazquez.
“Further, the victim refers to the sender by the name Felipe numerous times throughout the text message conversation,” the affidavit reads.
The Pennsylvania State Police said Vazquez was arrested in Pittsburgh “without incident.”
Following the arrest, police seized electronic devices that will be examined as part of the investigation. Officers brought Vazquez to Allegheny County Jail, and he will be extradited to Lee County, Florida.
Vazquez is a back-to-back All-Star who has saved 65 games over the last two seasons with a 2.22 ERA and 179 strikeouts in 126 appearances. Last week, he and fellow reliever Kyle Crick were involved in a locker-room confrontation that resulted in Crick being injured.
Vazquez went by Felipe Rivero until he legally changed his name in 2018, to match that of his of his sister.
Read more at usatoday.com