Last week, The Oregonian reported that Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich had been pled guilty in 2012 of molesting a 6-year-old family member.
Before that revelation, Heimlich was the ace of the Beavers’ staff as the team headed for the College World Series, as well as a likely early-round pick in the MLB Draft. But after news of his sex-offender status broke, the lefty went unselected in the draft and now, he has announced, plans to skip the College World Series.
Via ESPN, here is Heimlich’s statement on the decision:
“For the past six years, I have done everything in my power to demonstrate that I am someone my family and my community can be proud of, and show the one person who has suffered the most that I am committed to living a life of integrity,” Heimlich said in a statement released by a family friend.
“This situation has caused great pain to my family members over the years and I am devastated that they have to relive it all again so publicly. Today the Oregon State University baseball team is heading to Omaha for the College World Series — something my teammates, my coaches and I have worked for all year and dreamed about for a lifetime. I’m sad to say I am not joining them, because doing so would only create further distraction for my teammates, more turmoil for my family, and given the high profile of the national championship, direct even more unwanted attention to an innocent young girl.
“I want to wish my teammates the best. I hope they understand this decision as my family and I continue to work through this together. My hope is to return to OSU next year as a student-athlete and continue to earn the trust of my community.”
This is just a crappy situation all around. It seems unfair (or at least odd) that Heimlich would be punished now, at age 21, for something he was already punished for at age 15, after three years of college during which no one said a word. However, the pitcher is clearly correct that his presence in Omaha would be a distraction for his teammates and potentially harmful for the victim.
Heimlich reportedly asked to be excused from playing last week in the NCAA super regional.
Per ESPN, Oregon State president Ed Ray said in a statement that he would support Heimlich remaining at the university and rejoining the Beavers’ baseball team.
“I concur with this decision as to do otherwise would certainly serve as a disruption and distraction to the team due to the significant public scrutiny that this matter has attracted. As well, I am mindful of the need for providing safety for all concerned that otherwise might be at risk during times of heightened emotions,” Ray’s statement said.
“If Luke wishes to do so, I support him continuing his education at Oregon State and rejoining the baseball team next season,” Ray said in the statement.