Former batboy sues Omar Vizquel alleging sexual harassment

Detroit News
Associated Press |  Associated Press

Birmingham, Ala. – A former minor league batboy has filed a lawsuit accusing longtime major league shortstop Omar Vizquel of sexual harassment during Vizquel’s tenure as manager of the Birmingham Barons, an affiliate of the Chicago White Sox.

The 25-year-old man filed suit in U.S. District Court in Alabama on Friday accusing the 11-time Gold Glove winner of exposing himself multiple times and forcing the man to wash his back in the shower in 2019.

The suit says the man is autistic and accuses the White Sox and Double-A Birmingham Barons of violating the Americans With Disabilities Act.

The defendants had not filed a response to the lawsuit as of Monday and no attorney for them was listed in federal court records.

The Associated Press does not disclose the names of victims of alleged sexual abuse.

The 54-year-old Vizquel exposed himself to the man “for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification” at least five times while wearing a towel, according to the lawsuit.

On one occasion, a naked Vizquel stepped out of the shower and ordered him to “Wash my damn back,” the suit said. The man complied but did not return to work after that.

Vizquel’s wife, Blanca, accused him of domestic abuse in December 2020, describing two alleged acts of physical violence. Vizquel denied the allegations.

Major League Baseball said at the time it was investigating a 2016 incident when Vizquel was arrested but not charged, and an unspecified incident with the Barons.

He was fired on July 26 as manager of the Tijuana Bulls in the Mexican Baseball League.

The Alabama lawsuit said other coaches and the man’s supervisors laughed when informed of the alleged behavior toward the batboy.

The man is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, lost pay “and appropriate injunctive and equitable relief to remedy the harm he suffered.”

The suit says the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found in June that the man had been subjected to sexual harassment and discrimination and was constructively discharged, meaning he quit because of a hostile work environment.

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