Former Major League Baseball star Omar Vizquel is being sued for sexual harassment by an autistic man that is a former bat boy of the Birmingham Barons (Double-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox), according to Jeff Passan of ESPN and Katie Strang and James Fegan of The Athletic.
The 25-year-old man alleges that he was “targeted for sexual harassment because of his disability” while Vizquel managed Birmingham in 2019, according to The Athletic.
Vizquel allegedly “deliberately exposed his erect or partially erect penis” to the man on “at least five occasions.” Additionally, the lawsuit alleges that Vizquel forced the man to wash his back in the shower.
Here’s more, from ESPN:
The man, whose name ESPN is withholding because the allegations involve sexual misconduct, was a bat boy for the Birmingham Barons, the White Sox’s Double-A affiliate, when Vizquel managed the team in 2019. The lawsuit details alleged “sexually aggressive behavior” that included “at least five occasions” in which “Vizquel deliberately exposed his erect or partially erect penis” to the man.
On Aug. 22, 2019, according to the lawsuit, Vizquel emerged naked from a shower, handed the man a bar of soap and said: “Wash my damn back!” The man, “humiliated, intimidated, and frightened of what would happen if he disobeyed … complied with Vizquel’s demand,” according to the complaint. Afterward, the complaint continues, multiple Barons staff members — including a clubhouse manager who, upon the man’s hiring, allegedly told him: “Everything that happens in the clubhouse stays in the clubhouse” — laughed when told he had washed Vizquel’s back.
Vizquel was fired by the White Sox in 2019, and the organization released a statement regarding the allegations:
“After first learning of an alleged incident in late August 2019, the Chicago White Sox conducted an internal investigation that resulted in the termination of the organization’s relationship with Omar Vizquel. Because this is active litigation, at this time the White Sox will not comment further regarding the allegations included in this lawsuit.”
In 2020, MLB announced that they were investigating allegations that Vizquel physically abused his wife Bianca on multiple occasions. He was even charged with fourth-degree assault in 2016, but charges were later dropped. ESPN reports that MLB’s investigation remains open.
Vizquelv was most recently managing the Tijuana Bulls in the Mexican Baseball League, but he was fired last week. It’s unclear if that’s a result of any of the allegations.
The 54-year-old was a three-time All-Star and 11-time Gold Glove winner at shortstop over 24 MLB seasons, and he retired after the 2012 season.