U.S. Markets closed

Pirates ace in child sex case denied bail, faces more charges

Felipe Vazquez was denied bail and hit with further charges on Tuesday in relation to his child sex case (AFP Photo/Justin Berl)

Los Angeles (AFP) - Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Felipe Vazquez was denied bail on Tuesday as prosecutors in Pennsylvania added 21 additional felony counts to his child sexual assault case, US media reported.

Vazquez, 28, was detained in September after law enforcement agents obtained information that the Venezuelan star had a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old girl. Vazquez was initially charged with computer pornography and soliciting a child in 2017.

Court documents filed in Pennsylvania on Tuesday revealed investigators had uncovered seven additional photographs and three videos of a naked girl after examining a phone and computer belonging to Vazquez.

The ace relief pitcher was ordered to face 10 counts of child pornography, 10 counts of unlawful contact with a minor and a single charge of corruption of minors.

All charges involve the same girl, who now lives in Florida where the allegations were first made. Each charge carries a maximum seven-year jail term.

Pennsylvania State Trooper Michael Thompson told Tuesday's court hearing that Vazquez had admitted having sex with the girl during an interview in September.

"They had exchanged photographs and subsequently did engage in sexual intercourse in his vehicle," Thompson was quoted as saying by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Prosecutor Jim Lazar said Vazquez should be denied bail, describing the multi-millionaire as a "significant flight risk" and a man "of considerable means."

Judge Charles Moore backed the prosecutors request to deny bail.

"I'm not comfortable putting him in a position where he's going to be out in our community," Moore told the hearing.

Vazquez is one of the most highly rated relievers in Major League Baseball, with a career record of 17-13, a 2.61 ERA and 402 strikeouts with 89 saves in five seasons with Pittsburgh and Washington.

He has been placed on administrative leave since his arrest in September.