PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pittsburgh Pirates have removed banners around PNC Park featuring a player who was arrested after having a reported sexual relationship with a 13-year-old female.
The Pirates have taken down signs that feature Felipe Vazquez around the ballpark after the All-Star closer was arrested Tuesday on charges of pornography and soliciting a child.
An incident report from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office in Florida said Vazquez and the victim met at PNC Park, where they took pictures outside the bullpen.
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Vazquez had a banner at the corner of Federal Street and West General Robinson Street, but it is no longer there.
“We don’t know anything for certain,” Pirates pitcher Chris Archer said. “These allegations are very, very serious. The term that was used earlier was heinous.”
The team had a clubhouse meeting earlier Tuesday with team president Frank Coonelly, general manager Neal Huntingdon and manager Clint Hurdle. Most players knew about the arrest before they arrived at the clubhouse.
Vazquez locker has been cleaned out.
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Vázquez was arrested just after 11 a.m. in Pittsburgh on a felony warrant out of Lee County, Florida.
“Somebody’s life is going to be and has already been deeply affected by this,” Archer said. “We’re not the most joyful club right now but we are professional do we do have a job to do.”
The 28-year-old of Saint Cloud, Florida, is facing charges of computer pornography – solicitation of a child and one count of providing obscene material to minors.
Florida law enforcement says the investigation began last month after officials “obtained information that Vázquez had a reported sexual relationship with a 13-year-old female” in Florida. Authorities say the alleged victim, now 15, had gotten text messages from Vázquez saying they would meet up after baseball season.
On Tuesday afternoon, Vazquez’s bond was denied, and he’s facing additional charges out of Westmoreland County of statutory sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor, corruption of minors and indecent assault of a person less than 16 years old, court records show. The charges are not related to the case in Florida.
Investigators say they seized several electronic devices, which will undergo forensic examinations as part of the ongoing investigation, during the serving of a search warrant Tuesday.
“It’s just mind-blowing,” Pirates fan Jamie Carriere said. “Shocking, it’s unfortunate.”
“It’s just disappointing,” fan Adam Fleck said.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have released this statement:
“Today we were made aware of an active law enforcement investigation involving Felipe Vázquez and his subsequent arrest. We take this matter, and these charges in particular, extremely seriously. We have informed the Commissioner’s Office of the investigation and arrest. The Commissioner’s Office will immediately place Felipe Vázquez on Administrative Leave (and, as a result, Restricted List) pursuant to the Joint MLB/MLBPA Policy. We need to be respectful to all involved and the ongoing legal proceeding. As a result, the organization, our staff and players cannot comment any further at this time.”