The Washington Post

Ex-assistant pastor in prison for sexual abuse found guilty in separate case

- BY JASMINE HILTON Michelle Boorstein contribute­d to this report.

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 Vazquez was 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.

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 13year-old girl and a 9-year-old girl who were members of the church. The abuse occurred from 2015 to 2017, the statement said.

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.

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