Former east Charlotte assistant pastor pleads guilty to molesting young girls

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A former assistant pastor pleaded guilty Wednesday morning to molesting three young girls.

A judge sentenced Nicolas Vasquez to 24 years in prison.

Vasquez was arrested in February 2016 when the three victims came forward and a concerned family member went to police.

Detectives said the victims knew Vasquez as either an acquaintance or through his former east Charlotte church, Asamblea Apostolica Church.

Investigators also revealed the victims were between the ages of 9 and 12 at the time of the assaults, which took place for a few years.

Prosecutor Leslie Stephens told the judge that two of the victims were family members and the third was a girl he knew at the church.

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All three were younger than 12 years old, and Vasquez had bribed the girls to keep them from telling on him, Stephens said.

“Your honor, this plea encompasses three different victims,” said prosecutor Leslie Stephens. “He said that he bought all three victims food and clothes so that they wouldn't tell anyone.”

Police said they searched Vasquez's home and found pictures and videos showing assaults, and when they confronted him with that evidence, he confessed.

“In these pictures, you can see all three of these girls in these pictures performing various sex acts on him,” Stephens said.

Members of the victims' families were in the courtroom, but did not comment during the hearing.

Stephens said the real tragedy is that Vasquez was someone the children, and their families, trusted.

“He took advantage of that and used that trust and his access to these children to betray them in the worst possible way,” Stephens said.

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