Ontario Priest Released From Jail - Victims Respond
Fr. Alejandro Castillo pled guilty to molesting a child. He served time in jail. He has been ordered by the court to be a registered sex offender. Despite that, San Bernardino Bishop Robert Barnes has done little to nothing to reach out to parishioners and other potential victims. Why do we know that? Because Castillo's supporters, many of whom raised money for his bail, threw the child-molesting priest a party upon his release.
This is troubling. By seeing Castillo celebrated by friends and supporters, other potential victims are scared into silence. Other children are put into direct risk of abuse by well-intentioned—yet misinformed—parishioners who do not understand Castillo's crimes and the threat he poses. They may have already helped Castillo violate the terms of his probation. They may have given Castillo access to more kids.
A very brave child came forward and ensured that Castillo went to jail. The boy's brother was also abused. There may be other victims who are now too ashamed to report because their friends and family members threw the predator a party.
We beg Bishop Barnes to immediately inform the public that Castillo is out of jail and that he is guilty of a horrible crime. Barnes must also inform Catholics and the public about Castillo's status as a priest and if he has not already, immediately begin the process of officially removing Castillo from the priesthood. He must also visit every parish where Castillo has worked and reach out to potential victims and help guide the members of his flock, who are scared and confused and supporting a sex offender over the children of the parish.
Finally we urge anyone who has been abused, or seen or witnessed abuse, to call law enforcement immediately.
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.