Phoenix police have arrested a pastor they believe abused his position in the church to molest two women and two girls who belonged to his congregation, The Republic reports.
According to a police statement, earlier this month they were alerted to the fact that Jorge Vasquez had inappropriate sexual conduct with the women and the girls at La Roca Church, where he served as minister. He allegedly used his position in the church to take advantage of them between January 2007 and May 2014, and his victims ranged in age from 12 to 33.
The abuse usually occurred during counseling sessions or other occasions in which he found himself alone with his victims. “In his capacity as a minister he would have the occasion to provide counseling or have private meetings with these women and these girls,” Phoenix Police Sergeant Tommy Thompson said. “During the course of those meetings he would engage in some type of sexual conduct which was unsolicited.”
One of the girls said that Vasquez would make her sit on his lap and then fondle her, telling her he was “preparing her for her future husband or boyfriend.” Sgt. Thompson said that he apologized to the alleged victim’s father for this particular incident.
On Thursday, police took Vasquez into custody and charged him with six counts of child molestation, four counts of sexual abuse, four counts of kidnapping, and two counts of sexual conduct with a minor.
Watch a report on Jorge Vasquez’s arrest via 12 News below.