A Roman Catholic priest from Ontario is facing charges that he sexually abused several young boys. Jose Castillo is jailed on $7 million bail.
Castillo pleaded “not guilty” to eight counts of forcible lewd acts on a child under 14. Authorities say the 57-year-old priest repeatedly molested a 12-year-old boy – and may have sexually abused two others.
Castillo served at Our Lady of Guadalupe church in Ontario for seven years. He was barred from contact with parishioners earlier this year when sexual abuse claims first surfaced. The Diocese of San Bernardino took the action after investigating the boys’ allegations.
Over the summer, a group of parishioners held prayer vigils in support of Castillo. They say he’s innocent – and insist he’s done a lot of good for the community. A “Help Father Alex Castillo” Facebook page has 30 members.
The Diocese of San Bernardino agreed three years ago to pay $15 million to victims of clergy sexual abuse. The settlement resolved cases involving Inland churches that were once part of the Diocese of San Diego.