Former D.C. assistant pastor found guilty of misdemeanor sexual abuse while serving time for felony child sexual abuse

Washington Post

November 30, 2021

By Jasmine Hilton

A former assistant pastor at a Catholic church in Northwest Washington who is serving a prison sentence for sexually abusing children was found guilty Monday in a separate case of sexually abusing an adult parishioner, officials said.

After a one-day trial in D.C. Superior Court and hearing a victim impact statement, Judge Juliet McKenna sentenced Urbano Vazquez, 49, to the maximum sentence of 180 days on one count of misdemeanor sexual abuse, officials said. That term will be served consecutively to a 15-year sentence that was imposed after Vazquezwas convicted in 2019 of four felony counts of child sexual abuse, according to a statement by the District’s U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves and Police Chief Robert J. Contee III.

Catholic priest found guilty of sexually abusing girls at his D.C. parish

The abuse of the woman occurred in April 2017 during a confession at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart in the Columbia Heights neighborhood, the statement said.

According to the government’s evidence, the statement said, Vazquez “twice touched the adult parishioner’s breast, over her sweater” without her consent and had made comments before about “her appearance and marital status.” The woman told her mother “immediately,” who advised her to stay away from Vazquez, and in 2018, when Vazquez was accused of sexual abuse against child parishioners, the woman told another priest who notified law enforcement, the release said.

Vazquez was found guilty in August 2019 and sentenced in November 2019 to 15 years in prison for sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl and a 9-year-old girl who were members of the church. The abuse occurred from 2015 to 2017, the statement said.

D.C. Catholic priest sentenced to 15 years in prison following conviction of child sexual abuse

Graves and Contee said in the statement that Vazquez was indicted on the misdemeanor sexual abuse charge of the adult parishioner when he was indicted on the felony child sexual abuse charges. The adult case and the case involving children proceeded separately, the statement said.

Vazquez worked in the D.C. archdiocese but was ordained as a priest by the Friars Minor Capuchin, a religious order. The Capuchins could not immediately be reached Tuesday and his clerical status wasn’t clear.

An attorney for Vazquez did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Michelle Boorstein contributed to this report.