Oregon State star pitcher Luke Heimlich was required to register as a sex offender after being charged for molesting a six-year-old family member in 2012, according to a report from The Oregonian.
Heimlich, 15 years old at the time, pleaded guilty in August 2012 to molesting a six-year-old family member between February 2011 and December 2011, per public records obtained by the newspaper. While the incident had previously escaped public purview, Heimlich was cited in April after missing the annual update required by those charged as sex offenders. The Oregonian reports that Oregon State is updated by its university police department when a student is registered as a sex offender “on a regular ongoing basis,” per a university spokesperson, indicating the school would have been aware of his status as early as 2014.
Heimlich, Oregon State baseball head coach Pat Casey, and Beavers AD Scott Barnes all declined to comment directly about the contents of the report, and the university spokesperson declined to clarify whether the school knew of Heimlich’s conviction prior to his admission. The mother of the child Heimlich molested told the paper she’s “appalled that the college he’s going to would even have him on their team.”
According to documents obtained by The Oregonian, the victim told law enforcement officials that Heimlich began molesting her when she was four years old and continued until she told her parents when she was six.
The girl told investigators that inside Heimlich’s bedroom, he pulled down her underwear and “touched her on both the inside and outside of the spot she uses to go to the bathroom,” according to court records.
“She said that she told him to stop, but he wouldn’t,” the documents state, and that “it hurt” when he touched her.
“She said that the first time the respondent touched her she was four years old and that she was six years old the last time he did this,” according to court records.
After being charged with two counts of molestation for acts committed as early as September 2009 and as recent as December 2011, Heimlich was ultimately charged with just one count of molestation as part of a plea bargain. Heimlich acknowledged his guilt in writing—“I admit that I had sexual contact” with the victim—and registered as a Level I sex offender in August 2012. Level 3 offenders are considered to have the highest risk of reoffending.
Heimlich entered a diversion program, received sex offender treatment for two years, and served two years of probation; he was supposed to serve 40 weeks of detention in juvenile rehab. His juvie sentence was suspended after he completed his probation in 2014, the same year he joined Oregon State’s baseball team.
For the past 12 years, Oregon State has been among the top programs in college baseball, having appeared in four College World Series and scoring a pair of national titles in 2006 and 2007. The Beavers are again on pace to register yet another World Series appearance this year, as they are the top seed in the playoffs, boasting a 52-4 record behind one of the best pitching staffs in the nation. They are currently slated to play in the super regionals this weekend; Heimlich will likely start one of the contests.
Heimlich, the Pac-12 pitcher of the year, is 11-1 this season with a 0.76 ERA through 118.1 innings; heading into this year’s MLB draft, he was expected to be one of the top pitchers available. With his status as a sex offender now public, at least three MLB teams have removed him from their draft board, according to Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan.
The Oregonian published an accompanying post explaining its reasoning for publishing its report on Heimlich, with editor-in-chief Mark Katches concluding that, “this is a tragic story on so many levels. But we believed the crime against a young, innocent and defenseless child had to be disclosed and that we had an obligation as journalists to disclose it.”