Two Cases Alleging Sexual Abuse by Former Ontario Priest Are Settled

By Lori Fowler
February 11, 2014

Two of three lawsuits alleging a former Ontario priest sexually abused a child have been settled for $3.8 million, diocese of San Bernardino officials said Monday.

The diocese settled the cases against Alejandro “Alex” Castillo last month in San Bernardino County Superior Court, officials said, adding that Castillo — once a priest at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Ontario — has been defrocked.

“The settlement was made in the interest of healing for the victims, their family and the local church, and for the continued stability of diocesan ministries,” according to a statement released by the diocese. “The diocese acknowledges and deeply regrets the sinful and unlawful actions of Castillo while also noting that it took immediate action to remove him from ministry and notify police as soon as the allegations against him were known, in accordance with diocesan policy.”

Three civil lawsuits have been filed against Castillo and the diocese, said Joelle Casteix, western regional director for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Two were in 2011 and one in 2012.

The two settled were from 2011, Casteix said.

“No amount of money is going to bring back the innocence of the boys that were abused or bring back the trust of the family that was betrayed by Castillo,” she said. “But hopefully it will allow these boys some sense of healing and a big sense of justice.”

Casteix called the victims brave for filing the lawsuits.

“It’s not always about the money,” she said. “It’s about punishing enablers and helping a wide web of victims in the long run.”

The third civil suit, which claims abuse by Castillo occurred as far back as the 1970s, is still going through the court process.

Castillo was arrested by Ontario police in 2010 on suspicion of molesting a 12-year-old boy. At the time, police believed there were at least four other victims. The abuse occurred as early as 2000 when Castillo worked at a church in Rialto, police said. Charges were not filed in connection with the four other victims due to insufficient evidence or because the alleged crimes occurred beyond the statute of limitations. Castillo pleaded no contest to committing a lewd act with a child as part of a plea agreement in August 2011 and was sentenced to a year in jail. He served eight months and was released from jail in April 2012. As a condition of his probation release, he registered as a sex offender.

Castillo worked as a priest at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Ontario from 2003 to 2010. He resigned from the Ontario church after he was released on bail.

Castillo was a priest at St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Rialto for three years before moving to Our Lady of Guadalupe in 2003. He also served as priest at St. George in Ontario from 2006 to 2008. Castillo joined the San Bernardino Diocese in 1988, serving with St. Anthony Parish in San Bernardino. From 1991 through 1996, Castillo worked in the diocese’s Pastoral Center in Ministry.


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