Court records: Standout pitcher at Oregon State admitted to molesting young girl in 2010
CORVALLIS, Ore. —
One of the top pitchers in the nation who now plays for No. 1 ranked Oregon State University was convicted of molesting a child.
Luke Heimlich admitted to molesting a little girl from at least 2010 through much of 2011.
Heimlich, a left-handed pitcher and Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year, could be headed for a national championship.
But Heimlich is also a registered sex offender, who had to appear in court last April in Benton County for missing a scheduled check-in. He pleaded guilty in 2012 in Pierce County, Wash. to molestation charges when he was 15.
According to an arrest affidavit, Heimlich would "close the door to his room" and in repeated attacks over two years "pulled down [the girl's] pants and touched her."
The girl was just 4 years old when the abuse started and 6 when it ended. Documents told Heimlich she "told him to stop, but he wouldn't."
Oregon State University officials say registered sex offenders must register with the university. They don't conduct criminal background checks on every student athlete.
"It is our belief, and it's really the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, that an individual who has committed a crime, paid their debt to society, is engaging in appropriate behavior, potentially could even be yet in a probation program monitored by the court system, is allowed to get their education. Is allowed to improve as a person," Steve Clark with OSU said in a phone call Thursday.
Brenda Tracy, a former OSU student who was raped by four football players in 1998, says it's time for universities to hold student-athletes to a higher standard by banning those with violent criminal convictions.
"We're talking about violent offenses sexual assaults, rape those are special circumstances. When we talk about juveniles though we do also have to also talk about possibly this juvenile offender was a victim himself in the beginning. So the bigger question to society is we're just failing victims all the time," Tracy said.
OSU officials do conduct background checks on students involved in areas where criminal convictions might be an issue, for example the university pharmacy.
Registered sex offenders are banned from living in Oregon State student housing.