- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 8, 2018

D.C. police have arrested a Catholic priest and charged him with sexually assaulting a child.

Metropolitan Police on Wednesday arrested the Rev. Urbano Vazquez, 46, on charges of second-degree child sexual abuse.

Father Vazquez was the parochial vicar at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart parish in Columbia Heights.

The Archdiocese of Washington said Wednesday it had suspended Father Vazquez last month after it learned of an assault allegation against him. The Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, which oversees Sacred Heart parish, reported the alleged incident to the archdiocese, which then informed D.C. police.

“This was the first report to the Archdiocese of this allegation of sexual abuse,” the archdiocese said in a written statement. “Since the initial claim to police, additional allegations against Father Vazquez were reported.”

The archdiocese said it also removed Sacred Heart’s pastor, Father Moises Villalta, saying he “failed to follow appropriate protocols related to reporting allegations of abuse to civil authorities and the Archdiocese of Washington.” Sacred Heart’s child protection coordinator also was suspended.

Father Vazquez had served as a priest at Sacred Heart since 2014.

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