Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich, who as a teenager pleaded guilty to molesting a 6-year-old girl, was not taken in Major League Baseball’s draft.
Heimlich was the top pitcher during the regular season for the No. 1-ranked Beavers, who have lost just four games and are headed to the College World Series starting this weekend in Omaha.
On Wednesday before practice, coach Pat Casey would not say whether Heimlich would pitch during the World Series.
“All I can say about Luke Heimlich is that I’m praying for him, his family, anybody that was involved in that matter, especially the little girl,” he told reporters. “It’s just sad that they’re going through the suffering again as a family.”
Heimlich has compiled an 11-1 record with a 0.76 ERA. The left-hander from Puyallup, Washington, had been projected to be an early round pick in the draft, which ended Wednesday without him being selected.
Details about his criminal history were revealed last week in a story published by The Oregonian/OregonLive. In an editorial accompanying the article, the newspaper said it learned about Heimlich’s 2012 conviction in Washington state after running a background check that it routinely does for in-depth profiles.
Prosecutors initially charged Heimlich with two counts of molestation for abuse that began when the girl was 4, The Oregonian said. He ultimately pleaded guilty to one count of molestation between February 2011 and December 2011, a period during which he was 15. Prosecutors dismissed the other charge as part of a plea bargain.
He entered a diversion program, received two years of probation and was ordered to attend sex offender treatment for two years, according to court records. He was sentenced to 40 weeks of detention at Washington’s Juvenile Rehabilitation authority. But that sentence was suspended and he served no time, according to court records, because he successfully completed probation.
Heimlich was classified in Washington state as the lowest-level sex offender with little risk of repeating the behavior. He finished his probation and court-ordered classes in fall 2014, around the time he moved to Corvallis to attend Oregon State.
“As a 16-year-old I was placed on juvenile court probation and ordered to participate in an individual counseling program. I’m grateful for the counseling I received and since then I realized the only way forward was to work each day on becoming the best person, community member and student I can possibly be,” Heimlich said in a statement released by his Corvallis attorney last week.
The Beavers are the top seed in the NCAA Tournament. Heimlich pitched in the opening round for the Beavers, before the story broke. He asked that he be removed from the rotation in the super regional round.
Oregon State has not commented in detail on the matter, citing privacy rules.
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