New York Daily News: QUEENS, By Emma Seiwell – A Queens church deacon nabbed in an undercover sting pleaded guilty in Brooklyn Federal Court on Friday of trying to lure three teenage boys into meeting him for sex acts, law enforcement officials said.
Rogelio Vega, 52, a former deacon at St Sebastian Roman Catholic Church in Woodside, pleaded guilty to three counts of enticing a child to engage in sexual conduct.
From 2015 to 2021, Vega tried coerce and entice three male victims, ages 14 to 16, to meet up with him for sexual acts in his car and at motels, said prosecutors. Vega used Kik, a messaging app marketed to teens, and Grindr, a dating app marketed to the LGBTQ people.
“The defendant’s use of the internet, including apps targeted to children, to sexually exploit minors is reprehensible,” said Brooklyn US Attorney Breon Peace.
“These were not just poor decisions on Mr Vega’s part — they were calculated, despicable wrongs,” said NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell.
Vega, of Maspeth, was arrested in January 2021 in an undercover operation in which he communicated with a detective he believed to be a 14-year-old boy, said prosecutors.
Vega pleaded guilty in Queens court in October 2021 and was sentenced to 10 years probation and was registered as a sex offender.
The day he pleaded guilty to the Queens charges, Vega was arrested on federal charges for the communicating with a number of victims dating back to 2015, a law enforcement source said.
When authorities seized and searched Vega’s phone, they found messages revealing he’d targeted multiple victims since 2015.
Vega is set to be sentenced in January, and faces a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison.
Top Feature Photo: Rogelio Vega is a former deacon at St Sebastian’s Church in Woodside, Queens – St Sebastian Roman Catholic Church