Former Pittsburgh Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez was convicted on Thursday of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl who reached out to him on Instagram in 2017. The Pennsylvania jury found Vazquez, a two-time MLB All-Star player, guilty on 15 counts, including statutory sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor, and indecent assault and corruption of a minor. He was cleared of 10 other charges. “The jury believed he used his position as a professional athlete to prey upon a young girl,” said Assistant District Attorney Jim Lazar.
Vazquez, 29, maintained at trial that he didn’t know the girl—who reached out to him online to wish him a happy birthday in 2017—was a minor. The prosecution argued that Vazquez was well aware of her age based on how young she looked and the fact that he called her “kid” in a handful of text messages. In other messages, he called the girl “slave” and “my possession.” Vazquez still has pending charges in Florida and Missouri involving the same girl.