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Cumberland-connected priest charged in D.C. child sexual abuse case

November 9th, 2018 by WCBC Radio

A 46-year-old priest with ties to Cumberland was arrested Wednesday on a charge of second-degree child sexual abuse. Urbano Vazquez was arrested on a warrant from D.C. Superior Court in Washington following investigation of an allegation that he engaged in sexual contact with a juvenile victim without permission in May 2015. The incident allegedly involved a teenage female victim and occurred in the 3200 block of Sacred Heart Way, Northeast. The arrest was announced by the Metropolitan Police Department’s Youth and Family Services Division. Vazquez is a priest of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, serving as a parochial vicar at the Shrine of Sacred Heart parish in Washington since 2014. He spent a year in Cumberland before being ordained in June 2014. Vazquez returned to the city in December of that year to celebrate Mass in Spanish on the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Mass was celebrated at St. Mary Church. The Archdiocese of Washington has removed Vazquez from ministry and suspended his priestly faculties. The Archdiocese said additional allegations against Vazquez have been made since the additional claim. "In reviewing this troubling matter, the Archdiocese subsequently determined that Father Moises Villalta, OFM Cap., pastor of Sacred Heart, failed to follow appropriate protocols related to reporting allegations of abuse to civil authorities and the Archdiocese of Washington," read a statement posted to the Archdiocese's website. "Father Villalta has been removed as pastor. For similar reasons, the parish’s child protection coordinator has been placed on administrative leave."

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