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Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich, a sex offender, asks to be excused from playing for team

Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich of Puyallup, who as a teenager pleaded guilty to molesting a 6-year-old girl, released a statement saying he has asked to be excused from playing because he didn’t want to be a distraction to the team.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – One of Oregon State’s best pitchers, who as a teenager pleaded guilty to molesting a 6-year-old girl, released a statement Friday saying he has asked to be excused from playing.

Luke Heimlich, a Puyallup High School graduate, said he didn’t want to be a distraction to the team, which began play in the NCAA super regionals on Friday against Vanderbilt. Heimlich’s attorney, Stephen Ensor, released the statement hours before the game.

“I’m so proud of our team’s accomplishment and don’t want to be a distraction therefore I’ve respectfully requested to be excused from playing at this time,” the 21-year-old Heimlich said in the statement.

Heimlich, who was in uniform for the game, also said, “I have taken responsibility for my conduct when I was a teenager.”

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Heimlich’s criminal history was first reported by The Oregonian on Thursday. The newspaper learned about Heimlich’s 2012 conviction while doing a background check before running a story about him.

Prosecutors initially charged Heimlich with two counts of molestation for abuse that began when the girl was 4, The Oregonian said. Heimlich eventually pleaded guilty to one count of molestation between February 2011 and December 2011, a period during which he was 15 years old. Prosecutors dismissed the other charge as part of a plea bargain.

Heimlich entered a diversion program, received two years of probation and was ordered to attend sex-offender treatment for two years, according to court records. He was sentenced to 40 weeks of detention at Washington’s Juvenile Rehabilitation authority. But that sentence was suspended and he served no…

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