Suspended Oakland Priest Accused of Sexual Misconduct with a Minor
By Gwendolyn Wu
San Francisco Chronicle
January 31, 2019
|Father Alex Castillo, the Diocese of Oakland’s episcopal master of ceremonies and director of the Diocese’s Department of Faith Formation and Evangelization, was placed on leave Thursday morning after an|
Father Alex Castillo, a clergyman in the Diocese of Oakland, has been placed on administrative leave following an allegation of inappropriate sexual conduct with a minor, diocese officials said.
“He is not allowed to function publicly as a priest while on administrative leave,” the diocese said in a statement. “As is normative for such a process, the diocese will not provide any further information on the matter during the investigation.”
Castillo was born in Costa Rica and worked at a software development company before joining the seminary. In 2008, he moved to the U.S. and completed his theological studies at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, according to a news release. He was ordained in 2011 by Salvatore Cordileone, the former bishop of Oakland.
It’s unclear when the alleged sexual misconduct occurred and when the allegation was made. Diocese officials said the case was referred to law enforcement because the church is a mandated reporter, but they did not provide any other details.
Castillo previously worked at the St. Anthony Parish in Oakley and Our Lady of Guadalupe in Fremont, according to the diocese. He also teaches at the Oakland Diocese’s St. Junipero Serra Catechetical Institute and serves as the academic dean of Escuela de Ministerios Pastorales.
In October 2017, Oakland Bishop Michael Barber appointed Castillo as the director of the department of faith formation and evangelization. He also served as the episcopal master of ceremonies, diocese officials said.
Thursday’s announcement comes months after Bay Area dioceses began releasing lists of priests accused of sexual abuse. Lists of credibly accused clergy have often named deceased priests or individuals who were already removed from the ministry.
Victim advocates have questioned whether the Catholic Church and local dioceses have truly confronted the epidemic of sexual abuse by clergy members.
“In our view, we’ve never been totally convinced that this is all a thing of the past,” said Melanie Sakoda, a Bay Area representative for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
Oakland diocese officials said in October that they would release the names of alleged abusers, but that report has still not been made public.
Sakoda called on state officials to investigate dioceses in California, noting that other states such as Texas had obtained secret documents of diocese disciplinary records with search warrants.
“I hope at some point the government starts doing what they did in Texas, seizing the records, doing their own deep dive and seeing what they come up with,” she said.