Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Felipe Vazquez has been denied bail and is facing 21 felony counts from his alleged sexual assault of a minor.
The bail decision and announcement of additional charges were made at a Tuesday hearing in a Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, courtroom.
The new charges consist of 10 counts of unlawful sexual contact with a minor, 10 counts of child pornography and one count of corruption of a minor.
Vazquez pleaded not guilty to the charges and his new attorney, Robert Wheelock, said he plans to defend Vazquez on the merits of the case, despite all the evidence presented against him.
Wheelock gave an indication while cross-examining a state trooper that he may present evidence that the alleged victim lied about her age and may have shown Vazquez a fake ID. Wheelock declined to elaborate or comment after the hearing.
Vazquez did not speak during the hearing. His only reaction after bail was denied was to audibly sigh.
Vazquez, who was arrested in September, faces multiple felonies in both Pennsylvania and Florida. He had previously been charged with three felonies in Pennsylvania — statutory sexual assault of a minor 11 years or older; unlawful contact with a minor; and corruption of minors — as well as one misdemeanor, indecent assault of a person less than 16 years old.
Vazquez, 28, admitted to police in September that he tried to have sex with a then-13-year-old girl in 2017, according to a criminal complaint released by Pennsylvania State Police at the time. The state trooper who interviewed Vazquez in September said in the Tuesday hearing that Vazquez told him he had intercourse with the girl. Police said Vazquez met the girl while he was in the bullpen at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
Vazquez told police he communicated with the girl through text messages and social media and sent her nude photographs and videos of himself committing sexual acts, according to the complaint. Vazquez “claimed initially that he refused to communicate with her due to her age,” saying the girl appeared to be 16 or younger, according to the complaint.
The girl, now 16, told police Vazquez drove to her residence in Scottdale Borough, Pennsylvania, about an hour outside of Pittsburgh, in August 2017. When Vazquez, then 26, arrived, the girl got into his car. She told police Vazquez placed her on his lap, removed her pants and tried to have sex with her. Vazquez then told the girl he had to leave because he had a game that night.
In Florida, Vazquez faces charges of soliciting a child for unlawful sexual conduct using computer services or devices and giving obscene material to a minor, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Vazquez and the girl maintained contact via text messaging when she moved to Fort Myers, Florida, according to the FDLE. The girl’s mother found photographs allegedly sent from Vazquez on her daughter’s device and sent a message to Vazquez informing him the girl was a minor. The mother also called police, spurring the investigation.
Florida law enforcement officials sought to extradite Vazquez but were denied in a separate Westmoreland County hearing Tuesday.
ESPN’s T.J. Quinn contributed to this report.
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