“I’m not a judge,” Mansur said in Spanish in a phone interview from Laredo, Tex. “I’m just a businessman, and I’ll give him an opportunity. If he was guilty, he’s already been judged. I’m just looking from here on forward. He has this opportunity, just like any citizen who has made a mistake. Who hasn’t tripped up in life and has to get back up?”
Mansur said that a rejection of Heimlich’s contract would be discriminatory. Salinas said the league would make a decision “in the coming days.”
Last May, in an interview with The New York Times, Heimlich denied that he had committed the crime he admitted to, saying he had pleaded guilty to quickly dispense with the case and for the sake of the family. The girl’s mother, whose name is being withheld to protect the identity of the victim, has maintained that her daughter’s account is truthful.
As part of a plea deal, reached when Heimlich was 16, one of two charges was dropped, and he was placed on two years’ probation, took court-ordered classes, wrote a letter apologizing to his niece and was forced to register for five years as a Level 1 sex offender, a designation the State of Washington uses for someone considered of low risk to the community and unlikely to become a repeat offender. His juvenile records are sealed.
Heimlich’s case became public in 2017 when, while playing for Oregon State, he failed to update his whereabouts for a state registry of sex offenders, which led to a police citation. He pitched the next year at Oregon State.
Reached on Wednesday night, Heimlich declined to comment.
The victim’s mother was unaware of Heimlich’s new job until asked for comment. “My view on the subject has not changed nor will it: I don’t believe he deserves a spot on any professional team,” she wrote in a text message.
Brenda Tracy, one of Oregon’s most prominent victims’ rights activists, who frequently speaks about sexual abuse in sports and on college campuses, called Heimlich’s signing “really problematic.”