Felipe Vazquez
Footage Released Of Pro-Baseball Player Beating Girlfriend Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Former relief pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates Felipe Vazquez was sentenced on Tuesday to a maximum of 4 years in prison after being found guilty on charges of statutory sexual assault in a case involving a 13-year-old girl. The 30-year-old All-Star closer will be serving time over other charges including child pornography.

According to ABC News, Vazquez had already served nearly two years behind bars and will be required an additional two years probation. He will be eligible for parole hearing one month after he arrives at the state penitentiary.

Based on a Pennsylvania criminal complaint, Vazquez was arrested on September 2019, during which he confessed to police that he had “sex but not really” with the said girl in 2017. The girl had testified that they had sex in his car, while they were parked outside her home in Scottsdale just hours before a Pirates game.

The two-time Pirates All-star was convicted in May by a jury in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania on 15 counts that included sexual abuse of children, child pornography and corruption of minors. Assistant District Attorney Jim Lazar said, “The jury believed he used his position as a professional athlete to prey upon a young girl.”

Prosecutors said the pair had been exchanging text messages from 2017 to 2019 but in Vazquez’s defense, his legal counsel said he and the girl had struck up a relationship on social media arguing that the minor girl had misled Vazquez about her age.

The court found Vazquez not guilty on 10 counts of unlawful contact or communication with a minor relating to sexually explicit text messages, photos and videos that he and the teenage girl had exchanged over the course of two years.

However, the relationship between the two continued until the teen’s mother found out about the messages along with a picture of Vazquez in his underwear on her phone after their family had moved from Pennsylvania to Florida. Vazquez at the time was also facing related charges in Florida and Missouri related to the same girl.

Following his arrest, Major League Baseball placed Vazquez on administrative leave making him ineligible to play since and eventually ending his 5-year career. The Venenzuela native and former Washington National tallied 175 saves in his five season career in baseball under his 4-year $22.5 million contract with Pittsburgh.

Vázquez's lawyer, Gary Gerson, explained his client’s sentence, "He's been incarcerated 23 months today," Gerson said on Tuesday “In one month, [Vazquez] will be at his minimum sentencing eligible for parole, and, of course, he'll have to have a parole hearing and things of that nature.”

Felipe Vazquez
Felipe Vazquez #73 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the San Francisco Giants in the bottom of the ninth inning at Oracle Park on September 12, 2019 in San Francisco, California. The Pirates won the game 4-2. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

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