SAN ANTONIO – UPDATE: This article has been updated to include a statement from the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office
A Bexar County Sheriff’s Office corporal fired last year after being charged with indecent assault has entered a pretrial diversion program in his criminal case, court records confirm.
Prosecutors dismissed the assault charge against ex-corporal Vincent Vera on Monday, days after he entered the program, records show. He had been scheduled to stand trial on the misdemeanor charge Nov. 2.
Vera was listed by BCSO officials as absent without leave, or AWOL, in late November 2019 after his involvement in an off-duty disturbance at a San Antonio home.
Vera then turned himself in to authorities in March 2020 after a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Law enforcement officials described the incident as a disturbance, but they did not ever provide specific information about what Vera was accused of doing.
Indecent assault is a Class A misdemeanor and pertains to cases in which a suspect touches the private parts of another person without their consent, exposes or attempts to expose the private parts of another person, or causes someone to have contact with another person’s bodily fluids.
The law went into effect in the fall of 2019 as a way to close a loophole in nonconsensual groping cases in Texas.
Previously, these types of cases were charged as Class C misdemeanors.
BCSO officials confirmed Thursday Vera’s firing from the agency was upheld by Sheriff Javier Salazar last October.
Salazar released the following statement Thursday afternoon:
“The ultimate outcome of a criminal case is separate and apart from our disciplinary process. Pretrial diversion and even dismissals do not negate the fact that the conduct happened, and violated our policies and procedures. I stand by my decision to terminate this former employee.”
Pretrial diversion allows a defendant in certain criminal cases to enter a program prior to being prosecuted. If he or she completes the program, the charge is typically dismissed.
A spokeswoman for the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office released the following statement late Thursday afternoon:
“Despite the agreement for Pretrial Diversion, legally this is still a pending case and we can make no further comment.”