DC priest arrested on 2 new charges of sexual misconduct

Sacrament of communion(Getty Images/iStockphoto/mikyso)
WASHINGTON — The Rev. Urbano Vazquez, the D.C. Catholic priest accused of sexual misconduct with three teenage girls, was arrested Tuesday on additional charges involving two more victims, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District.

The arrest came just 24 hours after Vazquez waived a probable cause hearing in D.C. Superior Court, in which prosecutors said his case was being sent to the grand jury.

Tuesday, Vazquez turned himself in to police on charges of second-degree sexual assault of a minor, as well as the misdemeanor assault of an adult woman.

According to a D.C. police incident report, the girl reported Vazquez had kissed her with an open mouth and inappropriately touched her over clothing, on several occasions.

In addition, the woman said Vazquez touched her breast on two separate occasions during confession, according to the police report.

Both of the new offenses occurred at Shrine of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, between June 2016 and December 2017.

Vazquez was arrested in November on one count of second-degree child sexual abuse, although authorities said three teenage parishioners claimed they had been abused by him in 2015. Vazquez denied the initial allegation, and the Washington Archdiocese has removed him from ministry.

In court Monday, Vazquez waived a preliminary hearing on the single count. Prosecutors did not mention in open court that Vazquez would face additional charges.

The new allegations involved different victims than had been previously mentioned in court filings.

Regarding his rearrest Tuesday, Vazquez’s lawyer Robert Bonsib issued a written statement.

“Although we are in a very toxic environment for one who is confronting allegations of sexual misconduct, Father Urbano hopes to respond to these allegations in a responsible manner as we investigate and seek to understand the basis for these allegations,” Bonsib said.

Vazquez is scheduled to make a brief initial appearance on the new charges Wednesday afternoon in D.C. Superior Court.

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Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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