Felipe Vazquez, the former Major League pitcher facing two dozen felony charges over claims he had sexual relations with a 13-year-old girl, referred to her as his ‘slave’ and his ‘possession,’ according to text messages presented by prosecutors at his ongoing trial in Pennsylvania.
The two-time Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star took the stand on Wednesday in his own defense, saying the alleged victim initially told him she was 17 when they began interacting on social media in 2017.
Vazquez, 29, claimed he asked her to prove her age after several weeks of electronic exchanges between the two, saying she sent him a digital photo of a Pennsylvania ID that appeared to show she was 17, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
However, the now 17-year-old alleged victim recently testified in court that she did no such thing.
Other messages presented at trial appear to show Vazquez acknowledging her youth by repeatedly calling her a ‘kid.’
The reliever told the alleged victim to ‘grow up’ in one message and asked if she was ‘going to stop being a kid now’ in another.
In 2019, after she sent him a digital photo of herself in her underwear, Vazquez is said to have replied: ‘Wow look at you. Not the one little kid I meet three years ago anymore.’
She also referred to him as ‘papi,’ ‘daddy’ and ‘bae’ in the messages.
Cpl. Ken Fennell, with the Westmoreland County Sheriff’s Office, leads former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Felipe Vazquez, who is charged with 24 felonies and a misdemeanor, to the Westmoreland County Courthouse for his trial on Wednesday in Greensburg, Pennsylvania
In his own defense, the two-time Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star took the stand on Wednesday, saying the alleged victim initially told him she was 17 when they began interacting on social media in 2017. Vazquez claimed he asked her to prove her age after several weeks of social media exchanges between the two, saying she sent him a digital photo of a Pennsylvania ID that appeared to show she was 17, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The girl’s mother testified at trial that she notified police after the family moved to Florida in 2019 when she discovered text messages between her daughter and Vazquez.
His name was listed in the phone of the alleged victim as ‘Justin (School).’
Vazquez has been held at Westmoreland County Prison (Pennsylvania) without bond since his September 2019 arrest on charges including statutory sexual assault, indecent assault of someone under 16, corruption of a minor and unlawful contact with a minor.
He also faces criminal charges in Missouri and Florida related to these accusations, but those cases are pending.
The alleged victim told the court earlier this week that she and Vazquez had sex in his car in 2017 when she was just 13. Vazquez was scheduled to play in a Pirates home game hours later that night.
She reportedly began crying as she told the court about Vazquez briefly penetrating her in his car outside her parents’ home.
Much of the evidence presented at trial on Wednesday was found on Vazquez’s confiscated electronic devices, which contained naked pictures and videos, as well as sexual conversations.
Vazquez had specifically requested the videos and photos, according to police.
Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Felipe Vazquez works against the Colorado Rockies in the ninth inning of a baseball game in September of 2019. Weeks later, he was arrested
He was initially arrested in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania in September of 2019 on charges filed in Florida, where the alleged victim’s family had moved. Local prosecutors had requested that Vazquez be extradited to Florida, but a judge denied the motion.
Pennsylvania authorities began investigating Vazquez in August of 2019 after being contacted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The alleged victim’s mother contacted Florida officials after learning of an alleged sexual relationship between Vazquez and her daughter.
Felipe Vazquez made All-Star appearances in 2018 and 2019 as a member of the Pirates
According to an incident report from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, the two originally met at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, where they were photographed together outside the bullpen when she was 13.
‘Shortly after she found him on social media where it escalated from there,’ the report read.
Vazquez told police he drove to meet the girl in Scottdale, Pennsylvania in 2017 when she was 13. He says he pulled down her pants and attempted to have sex with her, but told police he then left because he needed to attend a game that night, according to the complaint.
He admitted to continuing to text the girl and even told state troopers that he received explicit photos of her as recently as July of 2019.
According to a criminal complaint released by Pennsylvania State Police at the time of the arrest, the All-Star closer ‘claimed initially that he refused to communicate with her due to her age,’ saying she appeared to be under 16, which is the age of consent in the state.
As for the 2017 incident, investigators say Vazquez invited her into his Ford Mustang and pulled down her pants before he allegedly placed her on his lap and ‘attempted to penetrate her vagina with his penis, but was unsuccessful.’
Vazquez was initially arrested in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania in September of 2019 (pictured) on charges filed in Florida, where the alleged victim’s family had moved. Local prosecutors had requested that Vazquez be extradited to Florida, but a judge denied the motion. Pennsylvania authorities began investigating Vazquez in August of 2019 after being contacted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The alleged victim’s mother contacted Florida officials after learning of an alleged sexual relationship between the two
According to the criminal complaint, Vazquez initially claimed he couldn’t remember the girl’s name but said that she attempted to reach out to him through social media.
Vazquez at first said he refused to communicate with her because she looked too young, police said. They said Vazquez later acknowledged exchanging photos and videos of a sexual nature with the girl and also visiting her house.
Stephen Limani, a state police spokesman, said the girl moved from Pennsylvania to Florida at some point after the interaction with Vazquez began, though Limani said there was no evidence the move had anything to do with their relationship.
Police believe there was only one instance of improper physical contact between Vazquez and the girl. Limani added they currently have just one report of an improper relationship between Vazquez and a minor.
Over the three years the two were in contact, the alleged victim’s family moved to Florida, where authorities ‘obtained information that Vazquez had a reported sexual relationship with a 13-year-old female.’
Vazquez is also accused of performing a sex act in a video that he sent to the girl in July of 2019, according to police.
Vazquez was playing on a four-year, $22.5 million contract with the Pirates, but has since been placed on administrative leave by Major League Baseball.