District Clergy Member Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Multiple Counts of Child Sexual Abuse
WASHINGTON – Urbano Vazquez, 47 of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to 15 years in prison for abusing two children in his parish from 2015 to 2017, in Northwest Washington, announced U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu.
A jury found Vazquez guilty of committing four counts of child sexual abuse against two children in his parish on August 15, 2019, following a nine-day trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The Honorable Juliet McKenna sentenced Vazquez to 15 years in prison followed by 15 years of supervised release. As part of his sentence, Vazquez will be required to register for the rest of his life as a sex offender. At sentencing, Judge McKenna noted a substantial sentence was necessary to protect against Vazquez’s “predatory and manipulative behavior” that had a “devastating impact on the victims.”
The government’s evidence established that between on or about April 1, 2015 and May 31, 2015, Vazquez molested a 13-year-old girl while speaking with her in a parish office. In addition, between June 2016 and August 2017, Vazquez kissed and molested a separate 9-to-10-year-old girl in various places on church grounds, including near the church confessionals, in the church basement, and in the church sacristy. The jury also heard testimony from an additional teenage girl who Vazquez kissed in a church conference room.
"Urbano Vazquez used his trusted position as a clergy member to abuse innocent children,” said Jessie K. Liu, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. “We will not tolerate abhorrent conduct against our children. Survivors of abuse need to know that they can come forward with information and we will seek justice on their behalf.”
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Liu commended the work of those who investigated the case from the Metropolitan Police Department and the Department of Forensic Sciences Leica Team. She also acknowledged those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Supervisory Litigation Technology Specialist Leif Hickling, Victim/Witness Program Specialist Juanita Harris Tracy Owusu, Supervisory Victim/Witness Services Coordinator Katina Adams-Washington, Supervisory Paralegal Specialist Lynda Randolph, Paralegal Tiffany Jones, Appellate Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elizabeth Trosman, Chrisellen Kolb, and Elizabeth Danello, Deputy Chief Mark O’Brien, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Creighton, and interns Aquila Maliyekkal, Rustin Armknecht, and Sharon Foster. Finally, she also acknowledged the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorneys J. Matt Williams and Sharon Marcus-Kurn, who investigated and prosecuted the case.
Ms. Liu also notes that on October 22, 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. She continues to encourage survivors of child sexual abuse by clergy who wish to share their experiences and/or those who have knowledge of such abuse are encouraged to report these incidents to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for potential criminal investigation and prosecution, as a part of the Office’s Superior Court Division intake process.
Survivors of child 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 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.