The Kansas City Royals are considering signing Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich, who pleaded guilty as a 15-year-old to molesting his 6-year-old niece, The Kansas City Star reported.
“We continue to seek information that allows us to be comfortable in pursuing Luke,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said.
In 2012, Heimlich pleaded guilty to child molestation in Washington, Sports Illustrated reported.
According to court documents obtained by The Oregonian, the first time Heimlich molested his niece was when she was 4. He admitted he had "sexual contact" with the girl, The Oregonian reported.
Heimlich and his Oregon State teammates advanced to the College World Series championship series on Saturday, beating Mississippi State 5-2.
For the second straight year, Heimlich was not selected in the Major League Baseball Draft.
Even though Heimlich is a two-time Pac-12 pitcher of the year, activist Brenda Tracy told the Star the 22-year-old should not be signed.
“I’m sorry, but Luke does not deserve to be on that platform and pedestal, (potentially) looked up to and adored by millions of people, including young kids,” Tracy, a survivor of a gang rape in Corvallis, Oregon, said Saturday. “We should never normalize, we should never minimize (what Heimlich pleaded guilty to). If the Royals bring him on their team, they are complicit in normalizing and minimizing.”
In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Heimlich denied touching his niece despite his guilty plea.
“I pled guilty to it, but ever since that day and even before that, in court records and everything, I’ve denied ever committing the offense,” Heimlich told the magazine. “I stand by that.”