A two-time MLB All-Star was found guilty on Thursday of no less than 15 charges including 10 counts of sexual abuse of children.
According to CBS Sports, Felipe Vazquez, who played for the MLB’s Pittsburgh Pirates until 2019, was also found guilty of “two counts of unlawful contact with a minor, one count of statutory sexual assault, one count of corruption of a minor, and one count of indecent assault of a person under 16 years old.”
The charges stemmed from Vazquez’s contact with a then-13-year-old girl beginning in 2017. He was 26 at the time, according to ESPN.
Placed on leave
Speaking with police, Vazquez admitted that he had “sex but not really” with the girl, ESPN reported.
The girl’s mother reportedly called police after discovering photos from the baseball star on her daughter’s phone.
According to CBS, Vazquez was arrested and charged for the incident in the fall of 2019, and “was immediately placed on administrative leave” by the MLB. He hasn’t played professionally since.
“The jury disagreed”
It took the jury just four hours to hand down a guilty verdict against Vazquez, who reportedly said in court that he didn’t know the girl was a minor and that she “walked like a model at a fashion show,” according to a local CBS affiliate. The report from CBS Pittsburgh added:
When prosecutors asked him to walk like the accuser, the 6-foot-4 Vazquez complied. His attorney followed up by saying to let the record reflect Vazquez sashayed around the courtroom like a model.
Gary Gerson, a lawyer for Vazquez, told CBS Pittsburgh that he “felt we put on a very strong defense,” but “obviously, the jury disagreed.”
“I’m not sure exactly what their assessment of the case was,” Gerson added. “But it appears to be that they have concluded that Felipe had a mistaken belief but it was not reasonable.”
Decades in prison
According to USA Today, the jury also found Vazquez not guilty on 10 charges of unlawful contact or communication with a minor.
He is still facing charges including child pornography in both Florida and Missouri for his contact with the 13-year-old girl, reports note.
The former Pirates player is set to be sentenced on the 15 guilty counts out of Pennsylvania within 90 days, according to CBS Pittsburgh. He faces decades in prison, CBS said.