Pitcher’s arrest highlights deeper issue

Oscar Rzodkiewicz

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On Tuesday, Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Felipe Vazquez was arrested for one count of computer pornography for solicitation from a minor and one count of providing obscene materials to minors, according to a statement from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

The FDLE also said that Vazquez held a continuous relationship with this girl for two years, since she was 13 years old, and while doing so sent videos of him performing sexual acts and allegedly sent messages suggesting they would meet for sex after the baseball season ended.

Sadly, this type of behavior is not foreign in society, and it seems to take a stage of its own in sports, whether it be former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky being charged with 52 counts of sexual abuse to minors or Team USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar being accused of assaulting over 250 women and girls.

The coverage that these heinous actions receive because of the high profile of the accused, though pivotal in exposing the crimes of these individuals, should not be relegated to people in power or the national spotlight.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health Services, there were 168 sexual abuse allegations and one allegation of the likelihood of sexual abuse or exploitation in 2018 in Allegheny County, the same county in which Vazquez used to suit up for home games at PNC Park.

It’s hard to believe all 169 of these allegations are from professional athletes, government officials or any other public figure, and if they’re not, we need to be just as prudent in reacting to these issues and keeping our eyes, as a society, open to stop them when we can.

Perhaps it’s an issue of personal misconduct or dismissal of moral and legal values, and in that case, we need to focus on protecting individual children from falling into the traps set by the accused by looking out for signs of abuse or solicitation

If you’re concerned about something you see in the area, the Family Community Resource Center is located at 1550 Douglas Street in Charleston, IL, and can be reached at (217)-345-2188.

If you would like to learn more about what goes into recognizing and stopping child abuse of all kinds, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has a page on its website detailing protective factors on protecting children from domestic violence.

Regardless, it shouldn’t take a man with a 100-mile-per-hour fastball committing these crimes to get involved with stopping these issues.

 

Oscar Rzodkiewicz is a junior journalism major. He can reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]