Defendant Earlier Convicted of Felony Child Sexual Abuse Charges Involving Two Child Parishioners
WASHINGTON – Urbano Vazquez, 49, of Washington, D.C., was found guilty yesterday of sexually abusing an adult woman while he was employed as a priest in Northwest Washington, announced U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves and Robert J. Contee III, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
Vazquez was found guilty of one count of misdemeanor sexual abuse. The Honorable Juliet McKenna returned the verdict following a one-day trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The case proceeded immediately to sentencing and, after hearing a victim impact statement, Judge McKenna sentenced the defendant to 180 days of incarceration, the maximum sentence. The time is to be served consecutive to the 15-year sentence he is already serving on four felony counts of child sexual abuse, of which he was convicted in 2019.
The government’s evidence established that in approximately April 2017, during a confession in a room in the parish rectory building at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart, in Northwest Washington, Vazquez twice touched the adult parishioner’s breast, over her sweater, without her consent. He had previously made comments about her appearance and marital status. Following the assault, the adult parishioner immediately disclosed what happened to her mother, who encouraged her to stay away from Vazquez. In 2018, when reports came out that the defendant was accused of sexually molesting child parishioners, the woman disclosed the abuse to another priest at the church who notified law enforcement.
Vazquez was indicted on this charge when he was indicted on the child sexual abuse counts. The cases involving the child victims and the adult proceeded separately. In August 2019, a jury found Vazquez guilty of committing four counts of child sexual abuse against two children in his parish from 2015 to 2017. He was sentenced in that case to 15 years in prison.
In announcing the verdict and sentence, U.S. Attorney Graves and Chief Contee commended the work of those who investigated the case from the Metropolitan Police Department and the Department of Forensic Sciences Leica Team. They also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Supervisory Litigation Technology Specialist Leif Hickling, Victim/Witness Program Specialist Lezlie Richardson, former Victim/Witness Program Specialist Juanita Harris, and intern David Offit. They expressed appreciation for the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kathleen Houck and Sharon Marcus-Kurn, and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Williams, who investigated and prosecuted the case.
In October 2018, the Superior Court Division’s Sex Offense and Domestic Violence Section and the Victim Witness Assistance Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia launched a hotline and e-mail address for survivors to report child sexual abuse by clergy.
Survivors of sexual abuse by a clergy member that took place in a house of worship, school, or other location in the District of Columbia can call the Clergy Abuse English and Spanish Reporting Line at 202-252-7008 or send an e-mail to USADC.ReportClergyAbuse@usdoj.gov.
Survivors can access further information by visiting the following website: https://www.justice.gov/usao-dc/victim-witness-assistance/report-clergy- abuse.
All reports will be reviewed and a team of experienced criminal investigators, prosecutors, and victim advocates from the Superior Court Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office will determine whether any criminal charges can be brought or victim services provided. The victim advocates, who are part of the Victim Witness Assistance Unit, are available to offer support and guidance to survivors who wish to report.
Depending on the nature of the report, some information may be referred to law enforcement or the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia.
Individuals in need of police assistance or wishing to report any other criminal activity or sexual assault or abuse should call 911.
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
District of Columbia