The Child-Molesting Pitcher, Chapter 2

Last spring, I posted an ethics quiz about Luke Heimlich:

Luke Heimlich is a rising college baseball star pitcher at Oregon State,  and may well have a future in Major League Baseball. There is a problem though:  Heimlich, 22,  pleaded guilty to  sexually molesting his 6-year-old niece when he was 15 years old. The further complication: he denies that he committed the crime, which was not just one incident but a pattern over two years. He told The New York Times that he only pleaded guilty to ” for the sake of family relations.” “Nothing ever happened,” he told the paper. The girl’s mother, however, says there is no question that he was guilty.”

The question then was whether Heimlich should be allowed to play college baseball. I wrote,

” what does it say about this man’s character that he pleaded guilty to get a lenient deal, and now blandly says that he was lying? I’d view him as more trustworthy if he admitted the crime, was remorseful and repentant, and accepted responsibility. If he did molest the girl, and still denies it, one can hardly say that he has been rehabilitated…”

I’m not sure I was firing on all cylinders when I wrote that, though. He pleaded guilty because that was, by far, the least risky course: I might have advised him to whether he was guilty or not. If he wasn’t guilty, then he’s telling the truth now about “lying” to avoid a harsher sentence for a crime he didn’t commit.

Meanwhile, the reader poll results indicated a strong majority favoring letting the pitcher get on with his life, and his baseball career.

And now, the rest of the story…

All 30 major league teams passed on drafting or signing Heimlich, though the Kansas City Royals considered it last year but were intimidated by public backlash.

Now a team in the Mexican League has signed the left-hander, who can throw his fastball 94 miles per hour.  Heimlich still says he is innocent and his criminal record has been expunged. Nevertheless, his alleged victim’s family and victim activists are trying to pressure his new team, will be able to stick with his new team, the Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos, into dropping him. Indeed, the Mexican League,  which is affiliated with Minor League Baseball and is considered Class AAA, has rejected players with past conduct  like doping and gambling.

“The player has to have irreproachable conduct and be a good representative of the team and the league,” says a Mexican League spokesperson. “Like any league, we have to verify that all of our entrants have good conduct. We are an example to a lot of boys and girls. And we have to protect the image of the league.”

That’s fine, but even if he was guilty, Heimlich’s crime occurred when he was a minor. That’s the key fact here. After he plea, the pitcher registered 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 who is unlikely to become a repeat offender. His juvenile records are sealed.

Brenda Tracy, a t prominent victims’ rights activists, who frequently speaks about sexual abuse in sports and on college campuses, argues, it seems, that the pitcher’s misconduct when he was 15 should restrict his right to the pursuit of happiness forever, telling the New York Times,

“Because someone is giving him a so-called second chance, it is paving the way for a team in Major League Baseball to sign him. They will say, ‘Mexico signed him, so we are not the only ones, we were not the first ones to do this,’ and that is wrong. It is ignoring the victim, and it is wrong. As I’ve said before, second chances do not have to include playing sports, especially pro sports, because in our society, we put these athletes up on a pedestal.”

That’s interesting: I was not aware of the sports exception to paying one’s debt to society,  special conditions of leniency for minors, and the right to have second chances in a democracy. Detroit Tigers star Ron LaFlore had been a heroin addict and ultimately served prison time for armed robbery. He honed his baseball skills while in the pen, and ultimately was hailed as a wonderful example of rehabilitation when he became a baseball star. They even made a movie about him. I don’t recall anyone saying that LaFlore was a corrupting influence on kids.

The opposition to Heimlich at this point is pure vindictiveness and hate. Let him play.


13 thoughts on “The Child-Molesting Pitcher, Chapter 2

  1. There is no crime I consider more heinous then child molesting, it is rape of a child. But at 15 he would have felt if his family was like mine better to say he did it, even if he didn’t to get the difficulties to lighten. Because I was the gay weird kid, I became the family scapegoat my pothead brothers, who broke all the rules could do not wrong! I am the only one of my siblings that still practices his faith, though my brother David did till he died of aids. Science has shone that the brain does not finish developing until 24. We do not try people as adults till they are 18 for a reason. Though I think sentencing should be based on science of development. My nephew who is now 26 is amazing and one of the best persons I know, when he was 15 he was a real brat, at 18 he made many mistakes, but he has turned into a young man that my family can be proud of.

    It seems to me that this young man is suffering from a mistake he made while still finding his way. It might be he is telling the truth now! Either way the mistake is over. Course my own history of disfunctional family dynamics my color my view! He has legally been expunged as such he should be left alone.
    It is estimated that any where between 1%and 3% Of adult men are pedifiles criminal records indicate about 0.5% it larger numbers are assuming not all get caught. Incidents of such behavior is much higher in preteen and early teenage boys. Though it often does not repeat. I do not know what to make of that, as I was more interested in adult men even as a teen. The Catholic priests the numbers double. Still a small percentage, the problem there is the instructions attempts to hide it instead of help the victims.

    This young man may have never done the Crime, he may have been curious and done nothing really, or he may have been guilty as sin and is either a different person now. Maybe he is a dormant monster. In any case because of the teen confession he is going to be watched for the rest of his life. Let him play ball until he reveals his character, once and for all.

  2. As far as rehab, two names spring to mind right away — Josh Hamilton and Michael Vick. Vick, of course, served time in prison, and was permitted to return to football. I was thinking that Hamilton also did time, but looking at his Wikipedia page I don’t find any mention of it, just (just!) several years suspension primarily for drug use.

    Hamilton was an icon for second chances and we loved him for what he did for the Rangers.

    We’re supposed to be all about second chances in this country. It is a familiar movie theme.

  3. The girl in this case wpuld be thirteen now, and could possibly be able to sue him for at least the next five years, maybe more.

    Why not let him play ball, so he could have sonething worth suing for?

  4. The girl in this case would be thirteen now, and could possibly be able to sue him for at least the next five years, maybe more.

    Why not let him play ball, so he could have sonething worth suing for?

      • It’s not such a coincidence. I gather that the German chemists who first developed heroin chose the name as a Graeco-German pun (Greek root, German ending for women’s roles), rather like saying “our heroine!”, because they (mistakenly) thought they had got all the benefits of morphine without the costs like addiction. They had only engineered out some levels of things like gastric distress, though.

  5. The only reason this came out is that the local police misunderstood the rules on registering when he turned 21. The thought he had to register, turns out under the rules he didn’t. He was arrested and that is a public record. The charges were quickly dropped with an apology but the bottle was uncorked.

  6. We (the societal we) have absolutely zero actual respect for the concept of rehabilitation, the debt to society, and second chances. We believe in those things for people we care about or crimes we don’t think are such a big deal, but when it’s a stranger (or even worse, an enemy!) and the crime is something we find loathsome, we always find a way to say “well, sure, he paid his debt to society, but that doesn’t mean he should have the right to [vote/own a gun/play baseball/live near a school/get a well-paying job/whatever]

    We’re great at paying lip service to rights and privileges and principles, and equally great at somehow always managing to find an exception when someone we don’t like would benefit. It makes me sad.

    • Agreed. The juvenile system was set up to provide to a period when mistakes could be granted mercy. Life now under so called ‘social justice’ has no mercy. Mercy is the only thing that separates justice from vengeance. Like many of the deadly sins, it is a perversion of a virtue, here: justice.

      Why bother even having a Juvvie system if there is no forgiveness? Why even pretend that criminal can get their lives together, if they can’t get a second chance? Should all criminals be locked up forever on the public dime, or more simply executed as life behind bars sucks enough many would rather suicide? What is the point of amnesty projects if mercy only counts if it has enough publicity? Mercy applies to the innocent and the guilty.

      While SJWs is a short nickname for a type of person, it keeps showing more and more further from a truth. They are NOT warriors, they do not stand up a fight putting themselves at risk for their duty- even if they do not agree. They show no warrior honor to their opponents, but are petty and vindictive, things not approved by warrior cultures where those endure.

      They do not espouse justice, because they offer no mercy to the repentant, or to their political opponents. (who they hate more than murderers) They want mercy for their errors but don’t put themselves in another’s moccasins unless it’s a special group they can patronize. I’m not even sure they should be called social, because this mob groupthink has made it unsafe to offer a difference in opinion. People cannot be as freely social, because big brother is always watching and the internet aspect never forgets. This is not friendly society, but a lynch mob- a witch hunt ready to snap into action before there is time for fair consideration of evidence or circumstances. I believe ‘sjw’ should be retired for a new term. I’ve seen ‘PC’s.’

      I will not deny that some parts of their cause is fair, but the power and reach of the mob is a heady thing that few want to resist. This athlete was a minor, and that rates a second chance, one family’s trauma should not become a global thing. The vindictiveness is of the greek furies, not justice. I feel sorry for the girl, that this cause reopens that period over and over, and she is not allowed to heal and get on with her life either. Shakespeare had it better than these ‘enlightened’ modern people: ‘The quality of mercy is not strained;
      It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
      Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest;
      It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.’
      When did mercy die?

      • Of course, whether mercy should be extends depends on the severity of the offense, how young the offender was at the time of the offense, and how long ago the offense was.

        Two of the reasons against extending mercy to Heimlich at this time is the severity of the offense and how long ago the offense was. This was child molestation, a severe offense, and it happened only seven years ago. Furthermore, the victim is only thirteen years old today, far from an adult herself.

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