Convicted Child-Molester Priest Faced with Another Suit

By David Olson
The Press-Enterprise
September 18, 2012

The Rev. Alejandro Alex Jose Castillo booking mug in 2010

An Ontario priest convicted last year of molesting one boy has been sued for allegedly sexually abusing another.

The Rev. Alejandro "Alex" Castillo was released from jail in April after serving eight months for sexually abusing a then-12-year-old parishioner at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic parish in Ontario in 2008.

The civil suit filed Monday, Sept. 18, in San Bernardino County Superior Court alleges that in 2003 and 2004, Castillo also repeatedly sexually abused a teenaged boy in the same parish.

The parish, the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Bernardino, and the Riverside-based Western Province of the Society of the Divine Word, an order of priests and brothers, are also named in the suit. They are accused of negligence for not doing enough to protect the boy.

According to the suit, Castillo was "a known child predator" before he abused the teenaged boy.

The boy now lives in Mexico, said his Pasadena attorney, Anthony De Marco. He was 15 and 16 years old when the abuse occurred, De Marco said.

The diocese and Michael Scafiddi, Castillo's San Bernardino attorney, declined to comment because they had not yet seen the suit. The Society of the Divine Word did not return phone calls.

The lawsuit alleges there were complaints that Castillo sexually abused children in the 1970s and 1980s while in a seminary in Mexico and at the Divine Word seminary in Chicago. He later served as a Divine Word priest in Southern California.

De Marco said the Divine Word society was aware of the abuse complaints and had a responsibility to inform the diocese of them before Castillo became a diocesan priest.

The diocese and parish either knew about the past abuse and didn't tell the boy, his parents or police, or they didn't do enough to supervise Castillo, the suit says.

In addition, Castillo regularly gave full-body massages to another victim in the early 2000s, the suit says. The victim, who was 17 or 18 at the time of the alleged abuse, is also considering a civil suit, De Marco said.

Last year, diocesan spokesman John Andrews said a special review board on abuse cases did not find the accusations of that man credible.

The plaintiff in this week's suit has not gone to police but would cooperate with police if they want to interview him, De Marco said.

Karen Schmauss, who prosecuted Castillo in the criminal case, said that, because of statute-of-limitations provisions, the type of alleged abuse and exact age of the victim at the time would determine whether it could be prosecuted.

Castillo was sentenced to eight months for molesting the 12-year-old boy after pleading guilty to a charge of lewd and lascivious acts with a child younger than 14. He could have faced 22 years in prison if convicted of all eight felony charges against him. He entered the guilty plea in an agreement reached after the victim's parents said they wanted to spare the boy the pain of testifying in court.

In September 2011, the parents of that boy filed two civil suits against Castillo and the diocese, one on behalf of the then-12-year-old boy, the other on behalf of the boy's then-16-year-old brother.

John Manly, an attorney representing the boys' family in their civil suit, said the case is ongoing. He believes there are many more victims.



Any original material on these pages is copyright 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.