Former Pirates pitcher Felipe Vazquez found guilty of sexual assault

Author: Chris Hoffman/ CBS Pittsburgh
Felipe Vasquez escorted by a law enforcement officer. Credit: CBS Pittsburgh.

Former Pirates pitcher Felipe Vazquez has been found guilty on several charges.

He was found guilty on 10 counts of sexual abuse of children, two counts of unlawful contact with a minor, one count of statutory sexual assault, one county of corruption of a minor and one count of indecent assault of someone under 16.

He was found not guilty on 10 counts of unlawful contact or communication with a minor.

The closing arguments in the sexual assault and child pornography trial wrapped up Thursday afternoon. The judge charged the jury, telling them they were expected to stay into the evening.

While deliberating Wednesday night, the jury had some questions. They asked the judge if they could see pictures and videos of the 13-year-old girl, who is from Lee County, Florida. All other questions could not be answered, the judge said.

Day 4 of the trial saw Vazquez, accused of having a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old girl, take the stand for cross-examination with the prosecution. He continued to deny he knew the accuser was a minor. He was on the stand for more than three hours.

He admitted to lying under oath earlier in the investigation, denying telling investigators his accuser looked “too young.” He told the court he thought she was a mature woman and he wanted a relationship with her.

Also on the stand, he said his accuser walked like a model at a fashion show. 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.

The defense in their closing arguments continued to press that the accuser played Vazquez and made him believe she Was an adult woman. They claim she engaged in baiting Vazquez into the sexual acts.

After a recess, the prosecution stated several times that the accuser was a minor and still is a minor at age 17. They say the former pitcher was not interested in a relationship but instead was doing this all for his own gratification. They showed several images of the accuser to the jury to stress her age at the time of the sexual encounter with Vazquez.

Wednesday saw 29-year-old Vazquez take the stand in an effort to convince the jury he didn’t know he was dealing with a minor when he allegedly established a sexual relationship with the then-13-year-old girl.

The teen, now 17, was cross-examined on Tuesday, breaking down several times under pointed questioning.

Vazquez’s lead defense attorney asked the girl why she allegedly pursued a relationship in 2017 with a man who was 26. The teen replied, “I used it to get attention with an MLB player, I felt like the coolest kid in the world.”

She admitted she didn’t know if Vazquez had any idea she was only 13 when they first made contact on social media. She also confirmed she told her mother in a break in a police interview that she should be the one in trouble. She told the court Tuesday she said that to protect him: “It was all so fresh, I didn’t understand anything.”

Closing arguments come next before the case is turned over to the jury.

If convicted, the one-time All-Star could spend decades behind bars.

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