South MS priest charged with sexual assault of a minor

South MS priest charged with sexual assault of a minor

JONES COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A South Mississippi priest has been arrested and charged with one count of sexual assault of a minor.

According to the Jones County Sheriff's Department, deputies were called to a residence in Western Jones County on Wednesday to investigate a complaint of sexual battery.

The father of a 12-year-old boy told officials that the Rev. Jose Vazquez, 36, engaged in inappropriate behavior with his son.

After being located and interviewed, Vazquez confessed to multiple acts of sexual battery with the victim in multiple jurisdictions, including Jones County.

Vazquez previously worked in Jones County and is currently employed in Stone County. The JCS Investigative Division will connect with authorities in the various areas for assistance in the investigation.

The Diocese of Biloxi issued the following statement on Thursday:

We wish to make it absolutely clear that the Diocese of Biloxi makes every effort to protect and to provide a safe environment for the children and young people entrusted to our care. We are saddened and deeply regret any actions or behavior by clergy or any other personnel who might betray the trust placed in us. Sexual misconduct with a minor on the part of any clergyman is reprehensible and will not be tolerated. We pledge our full cooperation with authorities on this matter. We also pledge our prayers and support to the victim and family going forward.

Vazquez is considered to be a flight risk. His bond has been set at $100,000.

Thursday afternoon, the Wiggins Police Department served a warrant for Vazquez for the charge of sexual battery of a juvenile. The investigation in ongoing.

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