Girl testifies she was repeatedly kissed and groped by D.C. Catholic priest

A 12-year-old girl, speaking barely above a whisper in D.C. Superior Court, testified Wednesday that as a second-grader, she studied the life of a Catholic saint who had been a nun. “And I got inspired,” she said. She was 8 at the time. She told a jury that back then, she decided she wanted to be a nun, too, someday.

But she doesn’t feel that way now.

“When did you change your mind?” a prosecutor asked.

“When everything started,” she replied, meaning in 2016, when she was 9 and a parish priest, the Rev. Urbano Vazquez, then 44, allegedly kissed her on the mouth and “touched me on my private parts.” She said he kissed and groped her repeatedly over a span of months.

And she lost interest in a life of religious vocation.

“What do you want to be?” the prosecutor, Sharon Marcus-Kurn, asked.

“A chef,” she said.

The girl, in a blue sweater, her dark hair pulled back in a ponytail, clawed discreetly at a foam squeeze ball during four hours of testimony. She was such a small figure on the witness stand that only her head and shoulders were visible to the lawyers questioning her in Vazquez’s trial on five child sexual abuse charges.

“Disgusting,” was how she described her alleged encounters with Vazquez, who was an assistant pastor at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart Church in the Columbia Heights area of Northwest Washington before he was arrested late last year.

“Gross,” she added in a low voice.

“Yes, it hurt,” she said qui...

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