Priest re­jects plea deal in sex­ual as­sault cases

The Buffalo News - - FRONT PAGE - – Wash­ing­ton Post

WASH­ING­TON – A Catholic priest who is charged with sex­u­ally as­sault­ing three mem­bers of a North­west Wash­ing­ton parish he served re­jected a plea of­fer from pros­e­cu­tors on Fri­day and agreed to go to trial.

Ur­bano Vazquez, 46, was ar­rested last Novem­ber and charged with sex­u­ally as­sault­ing a 9-year-old girl, a 15-year-old girl and a woman, all of whom were mem­bers of the Shrine of the Sa­cred Heart. Vazquez served as the church’s as­sis­tant pas­tor.

He was charged with two counts of felony sec­ond-de­gree child abuse and one count of mis­de­meanor sex­ual abuse.

Vazquez, through his at­tor­ney, re­jected a deal that in­cluded him plead­ing guilty to one felony count of sec­ond­de­gree child sex­ual abuse and two counts of mis­de­meanor sex­ual abuse. If he had agreed, pros­e­cu­tors would have dropped other charges.

Ac­cord­ing to a court fil­ing, if con­victed with­out the plea deal, he could face as much as 13 years in prison. With the plea deal, Vazquez would have faced about half that time. He will re­main in jail un­til the trial, which was set for Au­gust.

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