Former All-Star closer found guilty of sexual assault against a 13-year-old

Hideous.
Hideous.
Image: Getty Images

Fifteen counts of sexual assault against a minor. For such horrific charges as statutory sexual assault and corruption of a minor.

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Late last night, the hammer of justice came down hard on former Pittsburgh Pirates closer Felipe Vázquez as a Pennsylvania jury found him guilty of the most serious charges against him, while acquitting on 10 counts of the indictment related to text messages and pictures police found on his laptop. Vázquez was sent to Westmoreland County Prison and is scheduled to be sentenced within three months.

Vázquez — formerly known as Felipe Rivero — was arrested in September 2019. He had made his second straight All-Star team that year, now certain to be his last as a pro ballplayer.

Defense attorneys for Vázquez attempted — to no avail — to convince the jury that the pitcher was unaware of the victim’s age. This strategy included having Vázquez imitate his victim’s walking stride, which he compared to a “fashion model,” a scene that resulted in one humorous moment in an otherwise horrifying trial, defense attorney Gary Gerson saying, “Let the record show Mr. Vázquez was sashaying in front of the jury.” He even claimed that the teenager sent Vázquez a Pennsylvania driver’s license which indicated she was over the age of 18.

Vázquez also faces charges in Missouri and Florida related to his relationship with the victim, whom he first contacted after she wished him a happy birthday on social media.

Vázquez is not the first Major League Baseball player to have been charged with sexual assault against a minor. In 2009, former Yankees and Indians outfielder Mel Hall, was sentenced to 45 years in prison for raping a 12-year-old girl he coached that same year.

Well done Mr. Vázquez, you turned an All-Star career into a disgusting, criminal legacy. Your name will be put right next to Hall’s and Larry Nassar’s until the end of time. You deserve it.