Ex-Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez found guilty of statutory sexual assault

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PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 20: Felipe Vazquez #73 of the Pittsburgh Pirates reacts as he walks off the field after being pulled in the ninth inning during the game against the San Diego Padres at PNC Park on May 19, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Felipe Vazquez hasn't pitched in MLB since 2019. (Photo by Justin Berl/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Former Pittsburgh Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez has been found guilty of 15 counts of sexual misconduct, including statutory sexual assault, unlawful contact with minor, corruption of minors and indecent assault, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Mick Stellini.

Vazquez was reportedly found not guilty of 10 charges of unlawful contact or communication with a minor. 

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Vazquez still awaits charges in Florida for allegations involving the same girl.

Once one of the most feared relievers in MLB, the 29-year-old Vazquez was arrested in Sept. 2019 on charges stemming from an alleged relationship with a girl that started when she was 13. MLB quickly put him on administrative leave in response.

Vazquez was later hit with an array of additional charges after reportedly admitting to having sex with the child in 2017. Police also claimed to find nude photos and videos of the child on his electronic devices.

Jury didn't buy Felipe Vazquez's claims

Over the course of Vazquez's trial, the pitcher denied he knew the age of the child during their relationship, with his defense team claiming she baited Vazquez into a sexual relationship and that he believed she was a mature woman, according to Pittsburgh's KDKA. Prosecution reportedly responded by showing pictures of the victim, who is currently 17, to stress her age at the time of the relationship.

Prosecution claimed the relationship started when the girl reached out to Vazquez via Instagram in 2017 to wish him a happy birthday, to which he responded by asking her to speak with him through Snapchat, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The girl reportedly told him she was 17 years old and turning 18 that September, but she was in reality only 14.

Despite Vazquez's argument that he believed she was as old as she claimed, prosecution contended that he repeatedly called her "kid" in their communications.

Vazquez now awaits sentencing, and could reportedly face decades in prison. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has also reportedly been monitoring the case, with deportation to his native Venezuela a possibility.

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