The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Parishioners raise bail for accused priest

How is this for a testament of faith?

From UPI:

12893345987101.jpegA California priest accused of sex crimes against a 12-year-old boy has been freed on bail with money raised by parishioners who say they believe he’s innocent.

The Rev. Alejandro Jose Castillo, 57, was arrested Oct. 25 and charged with seven counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under age 14 and one count of forcible lewd and lascivious acts with a child under age 14, The Riverside (Calif.) Press-Enterprise reported.


A group calling itself the Coalition to Exonerate Fr. Alex raised the $24,000 in bail money from hundreds of donors, organization director Ted Campos said.

Castillo is pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Ontario, Calif., but was removed from his duties in June when the Diocese of San Bernardino was informed of the allegations against him.

As a condition of his release, Castillo can have no contact with minors, the Press-Enterprise reported.

You can read more about Castillo and the case against him here.

Comments read comments(4)
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Rick Barnhart

posted November 9, 2010 at 9:33 pm

Public support of an accused priest is not so much a testament of faith but rather becomes an imtimidation tactic that can discourages other victims in the parish from coming forward. There are other means that can be used to demonstrate your support for a priest accused of abuse that will not intimidate others from coming forward.

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posted November 10, 2010 at 10:48 am

Loyalty is admirable, but there is no reason to think this priest will honor their faith in him. What will they do if – when (more likely) – another accuser comes forward? Why didn’t the diocese step in to offer real assistance to the congregation and the priest? The bishop has missed an formidable opportunity to show how the institutional Church can minister effectively to all the parties invilved. Instead it seems like they are sitting back and watching what happens, ready to cover its assets but not to embrace the people.

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Bonnie Williams

posted November 10, 2010 at 11:18 am

It seems to me that the Church — bishops, priests and people — cannot win. In this country, this man is innocent until proven guilty — or so I have always been told. Further, there is nothing to indicate that anyone ever informed the Diocese that the parishioners were raising funds for their pastor. And it seems to me that, if the Church had stepped in in some way, they were sure to misstep from the point of view of somebody: it didn’t do enough, it did too much, it was too one sided, it is interefering in the course of justice, etc. This is not in any way to exculpate those members of the Church who have acted in bad faith or committed crimes, but simply to point out that in the current climate it is almost impossible to do anything without being pilloried in some way.

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posted November 10, 2010 at 12:32 pm

@robert willard
It seems to me the Church has created this problem for themselves by their self-serving actions in the past.
Had the Church done the right thing the first time and every time a priest was accused of abuse, they wouldn’t be generally distrusted and treated with skepticism ahd cynicism.

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