Luke Heimlich, College Star Convicted of Sex Crime, Quietly Makes Pro Debut in Mexico Express News
Last May, in an interview with The New York Times, Heimlich denied that he had committed the crime he admitted to, saying he had pleaded guilty to quickly dispense with the case and for the sake of the family. The victim’s mother, whose name is being withheld to protect her daughter’s identity, has maintained that the girl’s account is truthful.
As part of a plea deal, reached when Heimlich was 16, one of two charges was dropped. He was placed on two years’ probation, took court-ordered classes, wrote a letter apologizing to his niece and was forced to register for five years as a Level 1 sex offender, a designation the State of Washington uses for someone considered of low risk to the community and unlikely to become a repeat offender. His juvenile records are sealed.
Mansur, the Tecolotes’ owner, said the team and the league had either spoken with Heimlich or requested paperwork regarding his case. Last month, the league, which is affiliated with Minor League Baseball and is considered Class AAA, even took the unusual step of asking Heimlich to sign a letter vowing good behavior.
When city officials in Laredo, Tex., learned of Heimlich’s signing, they sent letters to the team notifying them of a city ordinance that prohibits sex offenders at city parks and Uni-Trade Stadium, where the Tecolotes play in Texas. The team provided records from Oregon that showed Heimlich no longer needed to register as a sex offender because his juvenile conviction was expunged, said Rafael Benavides, a spokesman for the city of Laredo.
“Our Laredo Police Department also confirmed that the player’s background check reflects no conviction criminal history information in the Washington State Patrol files,” Benavides said in a statement. “As it stands, the player is not required to register with the State of Texas and has an affirmative defense under our city ordinance.”
Heimlich would have his first chance to play in Texas next week when the Tecolotes return from a road trip.
“There is nothing that could have prevented him from signing in the league,” Mansur said in Spanish, adding, “in reality, I hope the past is left behind for the future.”