Felipe Vazquez, the Major League Baseball pitcher arrested in September for allegedly trying to solicit a 13-year-old girl for sex, is now facing more than 20 additional counts.
Vazquez, 28, appeared in court in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania on Tuesday, where a judge denied his bail request and added 21 additional felony counts: 10 counts of unlawful sexual contact with a minor, 10 counts of child pornography, and a single count of corruption of a minor, ESPN reports.
During the hearing, Trooper Michael Thompson testified that Vasquez eventually admitted to having sexual contact with the victim, as well as to exchanging explicit content with her, after initially claiming that “nothing had happened between them” because she was “too young,” The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
The Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher remained silent during the hearing, except to sigh after the judge denied his bail request, according to ESPN. His attorney, Robert Wheelock, seemed to suggest during the hearing that he may be planning to present proof that the victim lied to Vazquez about her age and showed him a fake ID, but he did not comment on that matter outside of court, the publication reports.
Vazquez was arrested in Pittsburgh on Sept. 17 on one count of computer pornography — solicitation of a child and one count of providing obscene material to minors, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement previously announced. Authorities began investigating in August after receiving a tip that Vazquez had been carrying on a “sexual relationship” with a 13-year-old girl who lived in Florida, with Vazquez allegedly exchanging text messages with the teen and sending her a video of himself performing a sex act, the agency said.
Authorities later said that Vazquez admitted to having inappropriate contact with the teen, CNN reports. Vazquez allegedly described an August 2017 encounter with the girl, during which he drove to her home in Scottdale, Pennsylvania and tried to have sex with her in his car while it was parked in her driveway, according to police. He allegedly described the incident as “sex but not really,” telling authorities that he was unable to “fit his penis entirely into the Victim's vagina,” at which point he stopped trying and told the girl that he needed to leave because he had a game scheduled for that night, a criminal complaint states.
The victim’s mother discovered allegedly explicit content on her daughter’s phone after the family moved to Florida, according to CNN. Police believe that Vazquez and the child, who is now 15, had been communicating for three years.
The Venezuelan-born athlete was hit in Westmoreland County with felony charges of statutory sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor, and corruption of minors, in addition to a misdemeanor count of indecent assault of a person under 16 years old, the Associated Press reports. A judge ordered him held without bond shortly after his arrest.
Vazquez is also facing additional charges in Florida of giving obscene material to a minor and soliciting a child for unlawful sexual conduct, according to The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Authorities in Florida have requested that Vazquez, who has been administrative leave since his arrest, be extradited to their state, but a judge denied that request on Tuesday, per The New York Post.
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