Oregon State lefthander Luke Heimlich, who was not drafted following a report that as a teenager he pleaded guilty to sexually molesting a 6-year-old female family member, will not pitch in the College World Series.
Heimlich issued a statement through a family friend and said he hopes to play for the Beavers next season.
“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. 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.”
Oregon State president Ed Ray issued a statement of his own saying he agreed with the decision as Heimlich’s presence could have been a “disruption and distraction” to the team, but that Heimlich will be allowed to return to the team next season if he wishes.
Heimlich’s decision follows a report last week in The Oregonian. The newspaper, while doing research on Heimlich for a story, discovered Heimlich was cited for failing to update his sex offender registration status in April.
Heimlich registered as a sex offender after arriving at Oregon State. He was 11-1, 0.76 with 128 strikeouts and 22 walks in 118.1 innings this year and was considered a potential first-round pick, but clubs removed him from their draft boards in light of the news.
When asked Wednesday about Heimlich’s CWS status, Coach Pat Casey demurred.
“All I can say about Luke Heimlich is that I’m praying for him, his family, anybody that was involved in that matter, especially the little girl,” he told reporters. “It’s just sad that they’re going through the suffering again as a family.”