Oakland Diocese: Priest accused of child sex abuse fled the country
OAKLAND — An Oakland priest who was suspended from his duties following allegations of child sexual abuse, is believed to have fled the country, officials with the Oakland diocese said Saturday.
Rev. Alexander Castillo, who served at Saint Anthony Parish in Oakley and Our Lady of Guadalupe in Fremont, was placed on administrative leave Jan. 30 and stripped of his authority to function publicly as a priest.
He had been living at Our Lady of Lourdes rectory in Oakland, the diocese’s chancellor, Steve Wilcox, said during a February interview with this news organization. At the time, Wilcox said the church was not aware of Castillo’s whereabouts but believed he was living in the area.
He said he knew that Castillo was at Our Lady of Lourdes immediately after his leave of absence, but that he was also looking for “groups of friends to live with for a few days until things calm down.”
“I don’t know whether he found someone to live with, whether it was in San Francisco or some other place,” Wilcox said. He added, “But he didn’t move. He wasn’t officially asked to move.”
Diocese officials last spoke to Castillo on Feb. 20, said Helen Osman, a spokeswoman for the church. But, attempts to reach him the next day, on Feb. 21, were unsuccessful, she said. Diocesan staff attempted to file a missing persons report on Feb. 22, she said, but were told to first contact “every jail and hospital in the area” before the police would accept the report. They did, she said, and filed the missing persons report the next day, on Feb. 23.
Oakland police informed diocesan officials on Friday that Castillo, a native of Costa Rica, had been located, though Osman said officers would not tell them where he had been found, except that he had left the country.
Multiple calls to Oakland police were not returned, and a spokeswoman for the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office said she was not able to provide any information about the case on Saturday.
Melanie Sakoda, a leader in the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, blasted the church’s handling of the ca...