Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich reportedly molested a 6-year-old family member in 2012.
Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich was charged with molesting a 6-year-old family member in 2012, The Oregonian reports.
As a 15-year-old, Heimlich pleaded guilty to to a single charge of sexually molesting a female child, whose identity and relation to Heimlich were not disclosed in the report. The Oregonian cited juvenile court documents obtained last week. Neither Heimlich, the team nor the university gave the paper comment.
The news surfaces with the Beavers (52–4) set to play as the top seed in the NCAA Super Regionals. Heimlich is the team’s top pitcher and has been projected among the top available prospects in next week’s MLB draft. Heimlich was cited in April after missing an annual update, which put his case in state court records for the first time and led to The Oregonian’s discovery of his past during a background check.
Heimlich released a statement through his attorney on Friday, and said that he asked to be excused from pitching in this weekend’s series against Vanderbilt so as not to cause a distraction.
"I understand that many people now see me differently, but I hope that I can eventually be judged for the person I am today," Heimlich said. "I'm so proud of our team's accomplishment and don't want to be a distraction. Therefore, I've respectfully requested to be excused from playing at this time."
It is reportedly unclear whether Oregon State was aware of the situation when it chose to put Heimlich on scholarship to play baseball. The prosecution took place in 2012, and the charges covered a period of time dating from February–December 2011, when he was 15 years old. The victim said she was four years old when Heimlich began molesting her.
Heimlich, a native of Washington, is a registered sex offender in Oregon. OSU athletic director Scott Barnes would not disclose when the school knew Heimlich was a registered sex offender. An Oregon State spokesman told The Oregonian that the university receives lists of offenders from state police ”on a regular ongoing basis,” which it cross-checks with members of its student body, and that info is shared only on an ”educational need to know” basis.
Read the full report here.