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Forest Hills man charged for sexually abusing young girl: DA

Richard Brown

Jan. 18, 2017 By Hannah Wulkan

The music director of a Catholic church in Jamaica was arrested this weekend for molesting a girl while giving her music lessons in her Queens home, announced Queens District Attorney Richard Brown today.

Rafael Diaz, 69 of Forest Hills, was charged Saturday for sexually abusing a girl while giving her piano and singing lessons in 2013 and 2014 when she was 11 and 12 years old, Brown said.

“Instead of being a role model to all of his students, the defendant is accused of taking advantage of his position as a church choir director to gain access to a young child for his own sexual gratification. These are deeply disturbing allegations that, if proven true, are deserving of severe punishment,” Brown said.

The girl, who is now 15, told police that Diaz had touched her breasts on multiple occasions, and touched her genitals over her clothes while speaking with her about not having children at a young age.

According to the complaint, the victim told her father about the abuse and he and Diaz had a phone conversation in which he admitted to touching her five or six times, but said it stopped when the music lessons ended.

Diaz was arraigned Sunday and charged with second-degree course of sexual conduct against a child. The judge set his bail at $35,000 and he is due back in court on January 20. If convicted, he could face up to seven years in prison.

The Archdiocese of Brooklyn released a statement claiming that it “takes the protection of children very seriously.” It also stated that it performs background checks on all employees and requires employees and minors to undergo training to prevent sexual abuse.

The statement also noted that Diaz was fired from his position at the church.

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