A Pennsylvania jury on Thursday found former Pittsburgh Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez guilty of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl.
The two-time All-Star was placed on MLB’s restricted list after the charges were filed in 2019, and he has not been eligible to play since the end of that season.
The jury in Westmoreland County late Thursday returned a guilty verdict on 15 of the charges facing Vazquez, including statutory sexual assault, unlawful contact or communication with a minor, indecent assault and corruption of a minor. Investigators said the incidents occurred in 2017, when the girl was 13 and 14.
During three hours of testimony Thursday, Vazquez, 29, maintained that he was unaware the girl was a minor during their relationship, which began in 2017 when she reached out on Instagram to wish him a happy birthday.
Vazquez was found not guilty of 10 other counts of unlawful contact or communication with a minor. However, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports he faces additional charges of child pornography and unlawful contact with a minor in Florida after he continued to have a relationship with the girl when she moved there in 2018.
The left-hander pitched for five seasons in the major leagues with the Pirates and Washington Nationals. He first ascended to the closer’s role in 2017 when he recorded 21 saves with a 1.67 ERA for Pittsburgh. He made the National League All-Star team in 2018 and 2019, compiling a total of 65 saves over those two seasons.
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