SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah News) - 24 year old Ricardo Velazco is considered one of Real Salt Lake's impact players of the future but his soccer career and his freedom are in jeopardy after he was charged Thursday with Unlawful Sexual Activity with a Minor.
According to court documents, Draper Police accuse Velazco of having sex with an underage girl on May 20th when he was 23 and she was 15, two weeks shy of her 16th birthday.
Greg Skordas is Velazco's defense attorney.
"The charges are based on the relative age of the two individuals not on any force or fear or aggression or something like that," Skordas told ABC4 Utah News. "This is not a forcible crime. It's not a rape or something like that."
Velazco played for Real Salt Lake's Arizona Academy and spent two seasons with the Real Monarchs. He's primarily been a backup this season, playing limited minutes while dealing with an ankle injury.
In a written statement, Real Salt Lake said: "With all allegations of a criminal nature, Real Salt Lake policy is to honor the judicial process while cooperating fully with both local authorities as well as the League investigation. Major League Soccer has now suspended Mr. Velazco from all soccer-related activity, Real Salt Lake will await the outcome of judicial proceedings prior to taking additional action."
Velazco is currently free on $15,000 bail. If convicted he could face up to five years in prison. Skordas told ABC4 that Velazco is devastated by the charge.
"He's obviously very upset," Skordas said. "He has no prior criminal history. He's worked his way up through the ranks with the team. He's got a very promising career. These are very upsetting charges and we intend to address them."
Major League Soccer's constitution states that any player who engages in off field misconduct can have his contract terminated so Velazco may have played his last game for Real Salt Lake.
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