Former Oregon State star pitcher Luke Heimlich, who pleaded guilty at age 15 to sexually abusing his 6-year-old niece, had his new contract with an Asian team disallowed Tuesday.
Heimlich signed a contract with the Lamigo Monkeys of the Chinese Professional Baseball League last week after failing to latch on with a Major League Baseball team.
It would be “truly regrettable if a potential first-round pick player has no place to showcase his talent,” Lamigo general manager Justin Liu said after the signing, according to Focus Taiwan News Channel.
However, the league stepped in an ordered the Monkeys to terminate Heimlich’s contract, according to the Oregonian. The Chinese Professional Baseball League reportedly has a zero-tolerance policy on teams signing players with a criminal past.
Heimlich was the 2018 national college pitcher of the year after going 16-3 with the OSU Beavers. He helped the team win the College Baseball World Series as well.
He went undrafted by MLB in 2017 and 2018 and failed to sign on with any team after the draft.
The Kansas City Royals raised eyebrows in June when general manager Dayton Moore said the organization was looking into signing Heimlich, but opted not to do so after all.
The Pullyap, Wash., native initially was charged with two counts of molestation. He ultimately pleaded guilty to one count of molestation between February 2011 and December 2011, a period during which he was 15. Prosecutors dismissed the other charge.
Heimlich repeatedly maintained that he pleaded guilty to spare his family the ordeal of a trial and has since denied any wrongdoing.
Fox News’ Samuel Chamberlain contributed to this report.