Friday, 18 Jan 2019

Three teens allege abuse by Catholic priest in BC, short papers say

Peter Hermann Reporter crime cover, specifically the DC police department November 8 at 3:21 PM A teenage girl who is a priest from a large Northwest Washington parish sexually abused her in 2015 when she was 13 told police in the office at the church following a cookout, according to a short document filed Thursday. The document, an application for an arrest warrant, also states that they were told to be sexually abused by the same priest. One incident occurred during confession, police said in the warrant. According to the Affadavit, the allegations concerning the first person were reported to the parish leadership in 2015. DC police identified the priest as Urbano Vazquez, 46, assistant pastor at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart, hub for the Latino Catholics region. He is a second-rate child sexual abuser, but additional charges could be filed by the attorney's office. The priest appeared with a view of DC Superior Court Thursday, December 10th, 2011, Author: admin The catholic church in the United States is in the midst of a clergy allegations that they have covered such crimes or improperly handled them, including not reporting them to law enforcement. Several high-ranking church officials, including D.C. Archbishop Donald Wuerl, have lost their positions on this issue and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is scheduled to focus on its annual fall meeting next week. In the case of Vazquez, the parish's main priest, the Rev. Moises Villalta, Sonia Marlene Aquino, was placed on leave for the protection of the child, "The archdiocese said in a letter Wednesday to its priests. Vazquez could not be reached and his public defender declined to comment on the case. Efforts to reach Villalta were not successful. Aquino said she was reported to be the victim of the first teen to her supervisors "immediately" after it happened in 2015, but she did not specify to whom. "I did not do anything to cover anyone, so my conscience is in peace," she said. The charge against Vazquez was filed after the provincial priest who oversaw the clergy at the Sacred Heart for the Capuchin Order, to which Vazquez and Villalta belonged, contacted the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency in October. The provincial priest reported that he had received a letter signed by the teenager's mother regarding the allegations. [Catholic priest arrested on sexual abuse charge at District church] D.C. Police said they interviewed the first teenager, who is now 17, on Oct. 29. She told detectives that the incident occurred in May 2015, when she and her family were at the church to sell food and snow cones for a picnic. Once they were done, she said, she was taken to the office to wait for her mother, who was cleaning up. The teenager said she was playing on her body, and she was sitting in a chair, and she was sitting on the chair. The police said in the documents that the teen said the priest. But, she told police, he repeated the action again. She said the priest then left the office and she "sat in the flesh, stunned, until she finally walked into the bathroom and cried," the arrest warrant says. She told a friend but did not immediately tell her mother, police said. She also told police that the priest, "almost every Sunday. . . "A second teenager told D.C. police that when she was 16, the priest abused her in May 2015, the warrant says. She said that she was one of the first three days of her life. The arrest warrant says the teenager said that the mother has left the room, the priest started talking to her and "out of nowhere kissed" her on her mouth. The whereabouts of the girl and the mother of the child, who apologized, saying he did not know what to say to him. "Police say the mother reported the incident to the church in September 2015 and January 2016. Police say the third teenager was 15 when she said she was abused in the rectory in May 2015. She told the police she was in confession when the priest "the arrest warrant says the priest" rubbed her lee while she continues to speak with him. The police and church officials said there are questions about whether the church properly handled the allegations. The arrest warrant says the church's head pastor told the police that sometime around June 2015, the first girl's mother and Vazquez approached him in a rectory hallway. The mother said Vazquez had "touched or attempted to touch" her daughter, but she ran away. Vazquez denied the allegation. The pastor told the police that he offered to report the allegation to the church and the mother did not want to do anything. The pastor said he told Aquino, the child protection coordinator, about the allegation and that the family was considering making a report. He said he did not know if that happened. The Shrine of the Sacred Heart, which is at 3211 Sacred Heart Way NW, is a large parish in Columbia Heights. Vazquezquez served as parochial vicar, who is an assistant to the pastor. Vazquez is a member of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, a fellowship of priests, and was not ordained by the Archdiocese of Washington. The archdiocese grants some capuchins permission to work in its churches, including Sacred Heart. Chieko Noguchi, a spokesperson for the archdiocese, said the Capuchins informed the archdiocese and police about the allegation involving Vazquez on Oct. 26. The archdiocese can not discipline Vazquez because it is not one of its priests, but it immediately revoked its permission to work Washington churches. He has lost his position at Sacred Heart, Noguchi said. Noguchi said that the archdiocese did not inform parishioners at Sacred Heart until Wednesday to avoid disrupting the police investigation. During the investigation, she said, the archdiocese learned that Villalta had more information about the allegation and had failed to report it. That is a violation of archdiocese guidelines, and Villalta's permission to work in Washington's archdiocese was also revoked, Noguchi said. The letter to priests also mentions the child protection coordinator's removal. Archdiocese policy requires "criminal background checks, applications and education for all employees and volunteers who work with young people," and Vazquez cleared the background check and other requirements, the statement said. Vazquez has been a parochial vicar at the church since 2014, church officials said. Capuchins are a religious order known for their vows of poverty and for working with immigrants and the poor. They wear simple brown clothes. They are organized into regional groups, and the DC is headquartered in Pittsburgh. The archdiocese of Washington owns the Shrine but the parish and the school are run by the order. These are the first allegations to be made in the first instance of the order of the author, and they are reported to be the first to report the abuse. A man who answered the question at Pittsburgh office and identified himself as "Father Frank" said the order is referring questions to the D.C. archdiocese. The parish also said that it would not be possible to comment on the question of the remaining priests, the Rev. Kevin Thompson. Thompson did not immediately respond to an email Thursday. Both priests at parish, which is largely Salvadoran but runs Masses in four languages, were very popular, some members said. Villalta has had a long tenure at Sacred Heart, and some parishioners and community leaders said they were deeply distrubed by the allegations. Abel Nunez, a leader in the local Central American community, said he was "withholding judgment until more information comes to light." Nunez said Sacred Heart was one of the first in the city to offer Mass in Spanish, and that Villalta has advocated for immigrants locally and nationally. Nunez said in general, Latin American culture holds the Catholic Church in high esteem, which can make some American Latinos hesitant to report sexual abuse in parishes, he said. Parishioners may want to give an answer to the question of whether they are undocumented. Based on an agreement between Vasquez's public defender and prosecutors, Vasquez will stay in Pittsburgh with his Catholic order and is not permitted in the District except for court related meetings. Also, please contact the person under the age of 18. He was also required to surrender his passport. Julie Zauzmer, Clarence Williams, Keith Alexander, and Luz Lazo contributed to this report. .

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