DC Priest Accused of Abusing Girls, Woman Wants Separate Trials

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Redferns

A Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing two children and a woman involved in his D.C. parish wants the cases to be tried separately. 

The priest, Urbano Vazquez, was arrested in November and accused of second-degree child sexual abuse. Police say Vazquez was 42 when, in May 2015, he inappropriately touched a 13-year-old female member of his church on two occasions.

Vazquez was arrested again in December on new allegations. A police report and a release from the District's U.S. Attorney's Office said Vazquez was accused of sexually touching a 9-year-old and a woman.

A lawyer for Vazquez says a single trial would be unfair, WTOP-FM reports. Attorney Robert Bonsib says that if jurors hear about the alleged child abuse, they may assume his client is guilty of assaulting the woman.

The Washington Archdiocese has removed him from his position at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart, one of the region's largest predominantly Latino parishes. 

He rejected a plea deal that would've had him admit to lesser charges and face up to 11 years in prison.

His lawyer says Vazquez will plead not guilty Friday.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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