Pastor Pleads No Contest to Sex Abuse of Teen Cousin

Charleston Gazette [West Virginia]
February 13, 2007

A 63-year-old Putnam County pastor pleaded no contest Monday to first-degree sexual abuse, after police said he forced his 17-year-old cousin to strip naked so he could photograph and abuse her in front of her 2-year-old nephew.

Paul E. Casto of River Street South in Hometown was arrested and indicted last year. He was both a pastor and a taxidermist, police said.

According to a criminal complaint, Casto invited the girl to his home. After she arrived with her nephew, she and the toddler were locked in the garage.

Casto told the girl to take off her shirt, bra and pants, according to officials. She refused, and Casto forced her clothing off, then photographed her before abusing her in front of the toddler, according to State Police.

"The victim advised that she was instructed to smile or 'she would be in trouble,'" investigators wrote in court filings. "The juvenile victim advised that she believed if she did not comply with the suspect's demands, that he would hurt her."

The girl left and told her parents, who told police. Casto was arrested the next day, and State Police said they confiscated photos from Casto's home.

Putnam Circuit Judge Ed Eagloski set Casto's sentencing for April 5.

He faces one to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.


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