Pirates’ Vázquez arrested, put on restricted list

September 19th, 2019

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates closer Felipe Vázquez was arrested Tuesday on charges of computer pornography, solicitation of a child and providing obscene material to minors. Vázquez was being held in the Allegheny County Jail on Wednesday after police said he admitted to attempting to have sex with a 13-year-old girl at her house in 2017.

Vázquez, 28, was taken into custody without incident on Tuesday morning, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, on a felony warrant out of Lee County in Florida. Vázquez was arraigned on Tuesday afternoon and denied bond. He is facing four additional charges in Pennsylvania’s Westmoreland County, according to court records: statutory sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor, corruption of minors and indecent assault of a person less than 16 years old.

The Commissioner’s Office placed Vazquez on administrative leave on Tuesday, and the Pirates placed him on the restricted list shortly after he was arrested.

“Today, we were made aware of an active law enforcement investigation involving Felipe Vázquez and his subsequent arrest,” Pirates president Frank Coonelly said in a statement released Tuesday. “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.”

The investigation into Vázquez began in August, according to the FDLE, after agents obtained information that Vázquez had a reported sexual relationship with a 13-year-old female victim, two years ago, when Vázquez was 26. They began talking on social media, a state police trooper wrote in a criminal complaint released on Wednesday, and continued to communicate via text messages.

According to the criminal complaint, the victim said in an interview with police last month that Vázquez attempted to have sex with her in his car outside of her house in August 2017. State troopers interviewed Vázquez at his Strip District apartment on Tuesday and wrote that he admitted that the allegation is true.

In the same interview, police said, Vázquez acknowledged sending explicit text messages to the victim as recently as July. According to the arrest warrant out of Florida, the victim’s mother discovered text messages, photographs and video sent by Vázquez after the victim, now 15 years old, moved to Fort Myers, Fla. The mother informed Vázquez in July that the girl was a minor.

FDLE agents and Pennsylvania State Police served a search warrant on Tuesday at Vázquez’s residence in Pittsburgh and seized several electronic devices to examine as part of the investigation, according to police. Additional charges are dependent upon completion of forensic exams.

Vázquez, who resides in the offseason in St. Cloud, Fla., will be extradited to Lee County. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, his extradition hearing has been scheduled for Sept. 25 at the Allegheny County Courthouse.

According to the Associated Press, Pennsylvania officials will not pursue extradition to Florida until their investigation is complete.

The left-hander’s locker at PNC Park was cleaned out by Tuesday afternoon. Images of him were removed from the exterior of PNC Park and promotional material around the ballpark.