A former middle school teacher who sexually assaulted or exploited five girls who were or had been his students was sentenced Friday to an indeterminate sentence of 40 years to life in prison.
“This whole situation is one in which people have been hurt,” Holmes told Vasquez. “The victims … your family … the community as a whole has been rendered more fearful because of your actions.”
District Attorney George Brauchler was in the courtroom for sentencing.
“Every morning, like many parents in our community, my wife and I drop our kids off at public school fully trusting that they will be safe from harm and in a welcoming, protective environment in which they can learn. We respect and trust our great public school teachers. We teach our children to do the same,” he said. “So, it is with mixed emotions of anger and fear when we discover someone in our community who holds such an important and trusted position who satisfies his sexual urges at the expense of our children’s innocence.
“We build prisons for such people, and it is to prison Vasquez has gone, perhaps for the rest of his life.”
Brauchler added: At this moment in time, with all happening around us, it is of the utmost importance that victims of sexual assault — boys and girls, men and women — feel protected and empowered enough to come forward quickly to law enforcement authorities to start an investigation which may result in no future victims. We will take allegations seriously. Please tell those who can provide help and prevent additional victims.”
Vasquez pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust, pattern of abuse, a Class 3 felony; one count of sexual exploitation of a child, a Class 3 felony; one count of attempted sexual exploitation of a child, a Class 4 felony; and one count of internet sexual exploitation of child, a Class 4 felony. The counts to which Vasquez pleaded guilty include the top count against each victim. Other counts were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
In August 2017, one of the victims and her parent reported Vasquez’s actions to the Aurora Police Department. The ensuing investigation led officials to discover the four additional victims.
“Sentences like this are not possible without survivors who are able to overcome a well-founded fear of not being believed, and who insist that their truths are not to be swept under the rug,” said Senior Deputy District Attorney Kelley Dziedzic, who prosecuted the case. “It is my hope that each of these young women are able to go and do the extraordinary things they are meant to do, secure in the knowledge that their collective courage halted a serial predator in his tracks.”
Cara Morlan, who left the district attorney’s office midway through the case, stayed on as a special prosecutor from the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.