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West Seneca police officer charged with official misconduct

A Town of West Seneca Police officer is accused of official misconduct, for allegedly engaging in a sexual relationship with a domestic violence victim whose case he previously investigated.

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn announced Friday that 35-year-old Derek Vasquez was charged with one count of official misconduct. It's a Class A misdemeanor which, if convicted, could result in up to one year in jail.

According to the criminal complaint, Vasquez had a sexual encounter while on duty in January 2019. While calling the encounter consensual, Flynn said it was nonetheless inappropriate because he allegedly used his position to gain the opportunity for the sexual relationship.

"Allegedly on one occasion, he showed up at her home, on duty, in uniform, not for the purpose of investigating the (domestic violence) case but for the alleged purpose of a sexual encounter," Flynn said. "That, I'm alleging, is official misconduct."

The West Seneca Police Department issued the following statement: "Earlier this month, the West Seneca Police Department was notified by the Erie County District Attorney’s Office that they had opened up an investigation against Town of West Seneca Police Officer Derek Vasquez, involving accusations of his involvement in inappropriate, on duty behavior. At that time, Officer Vasquez was immediately placed on Administrative Leave from the Department and a parallel Internal Investigation was opened.

"As has been reported, Officer Vasquez was criminally charged by the New York State Police and the District Attorney. The West Seneca Police Department has fully cooperated with the DA and NYSP during the criminal investigatory stage, and continues to work closely with those agencies as part of the Internal Affairs process."

Vasquez is scheduled to appear in court January 24 at 11 a.m.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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