An onslaught of sexual abuse cases continue to tarnish the once pristine name of the Roman Catholic Church. Subsequently, leading society to become more aware of the great struggle and pain that has resulted from the incidents of sexual abuse of minors by the Catholic clergy. August 31, 2011 witnessed a Rancho Cucamonga court room sentence Reverend Alejandro Jose Castillo to one year in jail for molesting a 12-year-old boy in Ontario. Furthermore, the victim has recently filed a civil lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Bernardino for knowingly subjecting him to a pedophile. The prosecution of Reverend Castillo is just one of many recent clergy sexual abuse cases that suggest church officials may have knowingly placed children in the custody of repeat sex offenders.
The conviction of Reverend Castillo should come at no surprise to those familiar with the recent scandal unfolding in the Roman Catholic Church. Recent years have witnessed a total of eight felony sex counts filed against Castillo. Each of which, may have led to 22 years in prison if upheld. However, Castillo and his attorneys reached a plea agreement with the prosecution. By pleading guilty to a single charge, Castillo received a 1 year sentence, while simultaneously avoiding considerable jail time.
Unfortunately, Castillo’s conviction is just one of many clergy sexual abuse cases. An influx of documents have surfaced that detail the accounts of church officials knowingly placing boys in the custody of pedophiles. Furthermore, one of Castillo’s alleged victims has officially filed a civil lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Bernardino for knowingly placing him in the custody of a priest who had already confessed to committing lewd and lascivious acts with children. The lawsuit, naming the Rev. Alejandro Jose Castillo, was announced last Thursday at a news conference in front of the Our Lady of Guadalupe school in Ontario.
According to court documents, plaintiffs have sought unspecified damages because the boys experienced depression, anxiety, nightmares, shame and problems in school, intimacy and relationships because of the heinous actions of Castillo.
The civil suit alleges that the establishment at Our Lady of Guadalupe parish knew of “Father Castillo’s dangerous propensities and tendencies as a child molester, sexual harasser and sexual abuser” before they became the victims of lewd acts, but did nothing to warn or protect them. In fact, the parish demonstrated a gross neglect for their safety by allowing Castillo to transfer there after having already confessed to committing clergy sexual abuse.
In order to preserve the pristine name of the Roman Catholic Church, officials attempted to hide the truth from the public eye. However, their acts of preservation have seemingly neglected the safety of children attending Castillo’s parishes. The civil suit brought against the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Bernardino alleges that officials demonstrated a gross neglect for child safety by transferring a known pedophile to their establishment.
Allegations in the civil suit name Monsignor Gerard Lopez, the diocesan vicar who attorneys said lied to the parents when he allegedly told them in 2010 that Castillo had never been previously accused of abuse. Subsequently, the entire establishment at Our Lady of Guadalupe parish is named as a culprit as well.
While the diocese declined to comment any further after the case entered litigation, their spokesman did mention that they were disappointed to be named in the lawsuit, “given their well-documented commitment to protect children from abuse through both policy and action.”
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