Former priest admits to molesting boy, 12

Former priest admits to molesting boy, 12

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A former South Mississippi priest has admitted to having an inappropriate relationship with a 12-year-old boy, according to a news release from the Catholic Diocese of Biloxi.

The release said Jose Vazquez admitted to charges that he abused his position of trust and acted inappropriately with the boy in Jones County.

The Laurel Leader-Call is reporting Vazquez, who is from Mexico, pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison, and the judge also ordered his deportation.

According to officials with the Jones County Sheriff's Department, Vazquez, 37, was arrested on Sept. 9, 2015, and charged with two counts of sexual battery after reportedly being caught abusing the boy.

Officials say the boy's father reported the abuse to authorities, and the abuse happened at least two times.

When WLOX News Now interviewed Sheriff Alex Hodge last year, he said the boy's mother found the two engaged in a sexual act at the family's home. When authorities found Vazquez, he reportedly confessed to multiple acts of sexual battery with the victim.

You can read the full statement issued by the Diocese of Biloxi here:

Today, Jose Vazquez Morales, who formerly ministered as a priest in the Diocese of Biloxi, admitted to charges that he abused his position of trust and acted inappropriately with a minor. This behavior is reprehensible and will not be tolerated. We continue to be saddened by his actions and for his victim. When first notified about the accusation, diocesan officials cooperated fully with civil authorities, and the priest was immediately suspended from all ministry and removed as a pastor. As the United States Bishops have stated, "For even a single act of sexual abuse of a minor…the offending priest or deacon will be permanently removed from ministry, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state." We remain committed to providing a safe environment for those entrusted to our care, and we pledge to seek healing for the victim and all affected.

Vazquez was appointed by Bishop Roger Morin in 2011.

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