Sept. 18: Lacretia Wimbley and Shelly Bradbury of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette provide further detail on the series of charges that have been brought forth against Vazquez, including statutory sexual assault of a minor. Even more disturbing is that during yesterday’s interview with the police, Vazquez apparently admitted to sexual contact with a minor, according to a criminal complaint released by Westmoreland County on Wednesday.
Sept. 17: In a stunning and deeply troubling turn of events, Pirates pitcher Felipe Vazquez has been charged with a series of crimes in the state of Florida, according to James Santelli of CBS Pittsburgh. Vazquez, a resident of Florida, is in custody after being arrested today in Pennsylvania.
The underlying behavior alleged is exceedingly disturbing. Allegations involve an online relationship with a child, with charges including computer pornography, solicitation, and providing obscene materials to a minor. From other publicly released materials, it appears that other charges relating to the unlawful relationship with a child could also be filed.
Vazquez will be placed on administrative leave by Major League Baseball, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN.com (via Twitter). The commissioner’s office has authority to place players on paid administrative leave, in seven-day increments, pursuant to the collectively bargained Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy.
That policy also vests broad punitive authority in the MLB commissioner, along with administrative processes to protect the rights of any accused players. It contemplates punishment upon a finding of a violation, without requiring a criminal conviction and regardless of any action or inaction from legal authorities.
Any such suspension that is ultimately issued would be without pay. One of baseball’s best relief pitchers, Vazquez is signed with the Pittsburgh organization through the 2021 season. The club has a pair of team options thereafter.
In terms of criminal process, it is difficult to know how this matter may proceed. If the state is able to move forward with these and/or other charges, Vazquez could reach a plea agreement or face trial. Counts of this severity will come with the possibility of jail time and could also have immigration implications for the Venezuelan citizen.