Catholic Deacon in New York Arrested for Child Sexual Abuse, SNAP Responds

A catholic deacon from the Diocese of Brooklyn has been arrested and charged for soliciting sex from what he thought was a 14-year-old child. We are grateful to the investigators who have removed this dangerous man from the streets and call on church officials in Brooklyn to use every resource at their disposal to find other victims and encourage them to come forward and get help.

Rogelio Vega is a deacon at Saint Sebastian Roman Catholic Church in Woodside, NY. According to reports, Vega solicited sex from an underage boy on the app Grindr, but it turned out Vega was communicating instead with an undercover detective and not a child. We are grateful to the police involved in this operation for getting a dangerous pedophile off the streets. Without their involvement, we can only wonder how many other young boys Vega would have attempted to groom and abuse.

Now that police have done their job, it is time for Catholic officials in Brooklyn to do theirs. Church officials should ensure that parishioners at every church that Vega has worked at or attended are aware of the charges. It is critical that parents and parishioners are informed of these allegations so they can look within their own communities for victims who may need help coming forward.

Vega is the first catholic clergy or staffer arrested in 2021, a year after more than two dozen active Catholic clergy or staffers were arrested around the country on abuse-related charges. Clearly, despite protestations from church officials, abuse remains a significant issue within the church. We fully believe that the best way to root out this problem is through investigations by secular law enforcement officials like was done in Pennsylvania in 2018 and is currently underway in states like Michigan, New Jersey, New York and California.

We encourage anyone who was hurt by Vega or any other catholic clergy or staffer to make a report to the New York attorney general’s office by calling 1-800-771-7755 or via the confidential reporting form on the AG’s website.

CONTACT: Brian Toale, SNAP New York ([email protected], 646-549-0372), Zach Hiner, Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org


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