Child sex victim was afraid to report DC priest because ‘his family had a witch in it’

WASHINGTON — Charging documents allege a D.C. Catholic priest — charged with sexual misconduct with three parishioners — preyed on the fears of an 11-year-old-girl and sexually abused her for an entire year.

In a newly published arrest warrant, D.C. prosecutors detail the allegations against Urbano Vazquez — a priest at Shrine of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church — who turned himself in Tuesday on charges of second-degree sexual assault of a minor, as well as the misdemeanor assault of an adult woman.

The girl and her mother told police Vazquez had kissed her on the mouth and inappropriately touched her approximately 60 times in 2017.

Vazquez was initially arrested last month on one count of second-degree child sexual abuse, although authorities said three teenage parishioners claim they had been abused by him in 2015. He has been free, on his own recognizance.

Prosecutors said the girl was 9 at the time, and before Vazquez first kissed her, “he would always call her beautiful and smart and she believes he was attempting to make her feel more comfortable with him.”

The girl, who was an altar server, said Vazquez summoned her into the hallway behind the altar, as mass was preparing to begin. She said he put his hands on her shoulders and hips.

“The defendant then kissed her on her open mouth with an open mouth, and finished by kissing her cheek and telling (her) that he loved her,” according to the affidavit.

She said the touching occurred over and under her clothing, but not under her underwear. “The touching made her feel weird, scared and not safe,” according to prosecutors.

The girl said when she first told her mother about what was happening, she only said Vazquez had been kissing her “to not make her upset with the other details.” She told her mother she enjoyed acting as an altar server, and was concerned she would be removed from her position and the church.

“She was always scared to tell anyone about the abuse because the defendant told her that his family had a witch in it,” according to prosecutors.

Eventually the girl’s mother confronted Vazquez while her daughter was with her.

According to prosecutors, the mother told Vazquez “his calling was to be saintly and he should not be touching children,” said he was making her daughter uncomfortable and asked he not be close to her anymore.

When the girl’s mother made the statement to Vazquez, “He immediately looked toward the altar, lowered his head, and said that he did not know that he made (the girl) feel this way and he would not be affectionate toward her anymore. He also said that he would only say hi to her in the future.”

The priest then apologized to the girl and her mother, and said that it would never happen again.

Vazquez made his first appearance in court Wednesday on the new charges. He’s being held until a detention hearing tomorrow.

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