GREENSBURG, Pa. (KDKA) - The trial is underway for former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Felipe Vazquez, who is accused of having sexual relations with an underage girl.
Vazquez has been in the Westmoreland County Jail since his arrest in September 2019, accused of having a sexual relationship with a girl in Scottdale, beginning when she was just 13 years old. He's also accused of exchanging sexually explicit cell phone videos and messages with her.
During opening arguments, prosecutors argued Vazquez used his status as a professional athlete to groom the girl. The prosecution painted Vazquez as a man who took advantage of a child who was a star-struck fan.
Defense attorney Gary Gerson said it's really a case of "reverse grooming" by a child toward an adult. Vazquez's defense argued the teen lied to the former All-Star about her age and had a fake ID that led him to believe she was 17.
The defense also says Vazquez tried to stop the girl by blocking her on his social media and personal phone. The accuser took the stand admitting she misled Vazquez but did so to make him happy.
The accuser, now 17, told the court she was a Pirates fan and said she sent a happy birthday greeting to Vazquez in the summer of 2017 via social media. The girl, who now lives in Florida, says the relationship began with social media conversations about general things, but eventually turned sexual in nature.
The girl testified she and the former Pirates reliever had sexual relations in his car in front of her home when her parents were away and it was the only time they were actually in each other's company.
The girl testified Vasquez requested -- and she sent -- the 29-year-old sexually explicit pictures and video of herself.
The teen, crying at times, told the jury her involvement with Vazquez ended when her mother discovered a text message from Vazquez saying "I can't wait to finish what we started in the offseason."
Testimony is over for the day. Vazquez's accuser will return to the stand Tuesday morning when it will be the defense's turn to cross-examine.
Vasquez is facing numerous charges, not just in Pennsylvania, but also in Florida. It was an incident report from the Lee County Sheriff's Office in Florida that said Vazquez and the girl met at PNC Park. Vazquez denies the allegation.
Stay with KDKA for the latest on this developing story.
Ross Guidotti will have more starting on KDKA Evening News at 5.
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