Pirates pitcher Vazquez arrested on child sex charges

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Felipe Vazquez was arrested on Tuesday on charges of computer pornography and soliciting a child, law enforcement in Florida said in a statement.

The 28-year-old Venezuelan ace, a back-to-back All-Star, was taken into custody after agents raided his apartment in Pittsburgh, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said.

Vazquez has been charged with one count of computer pornography, solicitation of a child and one count of providing obscene material to minors.

Law enforcement said the arrest followed the opening of an investigation in August after agents obtained information that Vazquez had a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old female.

The victim, who is now 15, had continued to have a relationship with Vazquez via text messaging.

In July, Vazquez sent the girl a video which showed him performing a sex act, police said.

Vazquez had also sent messages suggesting the two would meet for sex when the baseball season was over, Florida officials added.

Police seized several electronic devices as part of the investigation. Vazquez will be extradited to Florida to face prosecution.

The Pirates meanwhile said Vazquez had been placed on leave by Major League Baseball following the revelations.

"We take this matter and these charges in particular extremely seriously," Pirates President Frank Coonelly said in a statement.

"We have informed the Commissioner's Office of the investigation and arrest. The Commissioner's Office will immediately place Felipe Vazquez on Administrative Leave.

"We need to be respectful to all involved and the ongoing legal proceeding. As a result, the organisation, our staff and players cannot comment any further at this time."

Vazquez is a highly rated reliever with 65 saves over the last two seasons including 179 strikeouts in 126 appearances.

His arrest on Tuesday came after a locker-room bust-up with team-mate Kyle Crick last week which left Crick with a season-ending finger injury.

The Pirates are currently bottom of the National League Central Division with a 65-85 record.