Joshua Vasquez, a 31-year-old program leader for the City of Sacramento’s after school program, START, allegedly sexually assaulted a minor in his care. Vasquez was arrested on November 20th, and was being held at the Sacramento County Main Jail under charges of “oral copulation with a victim less than 10 years of age.”
The incident of sexual assault allegedly occurred at Sacramento’s Mark Twain Elementary School while Vasquez was working with START and part-time with the Sacramento City Unified School District. Because the victim is a minor, a name will not be released.
Sacramento Police Department released a statement saying that they believe there’s a possibility of more victims related to Vasquez during his time with the school programs, and their Sex Assaults and Child Abuse Unit is continuing to investigate the allegations. They urge any victims or citizens with information regarding the investigation to come forward, and call the Sacramento Police Department at (916) 264-5471.
After Vasquez was released from Sacramento County Main Jail, he was released from the Sacramento City Unified School District, place on administrative leave by the City of Sacramento, and has since resigned from his city position.
Mark Twain Elementary School and the school district released this letter to parents and the public upon Vasquez’s arrest after the sexual assault charges:
“Dear Mark Twain Families:
Today, Sacramento Police Department investigators informed school administrators that a part-time Mark Twain employee is under investigation for alleged child sexual assault. This employee also works for our city-operated after school program. Upon receiving this information, the employee was immediately released from service by the district and will not be back on campus. We are cooperating fully with police investigators and providing as much information as we have available to help them with their case.
I want you to know that we take these allegations extremely seriously and that the safety and security of our students continues to be a top priority at Mark Twain. I will continue to keep our school community updated with as much information as possible while still protecting the privacy of all involved and the integrity of the police investigation. If you have any questions, please contact the school office.”
Vasquez was not immediately arrested in the investigation, so information regarding his identity was only recently released. The Sacramento Police Department confirmed that they “do not believe that he poses an immediate risk to the public,” in a recent news release. “Due to the sensitive nature of the allegations,” the department also announced, more information regarding the case, the alleged victim, and Vasquez will not be released.
Although the sexual abuse allegations were taken with the utmost seriousness, parents are fearful of past incidences of sexual assault that may have occurred at other times throughout the duration of Vasquez’s employment with the City of Sacramento and the school district. The allegations also raise national concern about the hiring and screening process of school and city employees, and the ability of childcare providers to be alone with children without others noticing.