Priest faces trial after alleged assault of San Diego seminarian

Fr. Juan Garcia Castillo was associate pastor of St. Patrick’s Parish in Carlsbad, California

Fr. Juan Garcia Castillo (image from The Eudists Congregation of Jesus and Mary)

A California priest has been charged with sexual battery, after he is alleged to have sexually assaulted a San Diego seminarian.

The priest, Fr. Juan Garcia Castillo, is a member of the Congregation of Jesus and Mary, a religious community of priests also known as the Eudists. On May 14, Castillo was charged with one count of misdemeanor sexual battery by the San Diego County District Attorney’s office. A preliminary hearing in his case will take place Sept. 21.

Castillo is alleged to have forcibly groped and made sexual advances toward a seminarian after a parish event in early February. The assault was reported to police and diocesan authorities almost immediately, sources say.

Kevin Eckery, a spokesman for the Diocese of San Diego, confirmed that the diocese had received a report that Castillo engaged in misconduct with an adult. He also told CNA that Castillo no longer has priestly faculties in the diocese.

Castillo, 35, was listed as associate pastor of St. Patrick’s Parish in Carlsbad, California until late March, six weeks after the assault was allegedly reported to the diocese.
 
Although Castillo was the subject of a criminal investigation at the time he was removed from the parish, the diocese did not disclose the circumstances of his departure to parishioners, or make any statement at the time Castillo was charged with sexual battery.

Eckery told CNA that the diocese did not disclose to Castillo’s parish the allegation of sexual assault because “it would be wrong for us to influence the case.”

Castillo was born in Honduras, and in 2011 was ordained a priest at St. Patrick’s Parish by Cardinal Oscar Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa.

The website of the Congregation of Jesus and Mary’s U.S. region lists Castillo, as of Sept. 17, as “Local Superior of the San Diego Community of the CJM.” He is said to be “working with Eudist seminarians on a family-formation program for the Spanish speaking community.”

Castillo has recently inquired into the possibility of ministry in at least one other U.S. diocese, multiple sources have told CNA.

A jury trial is scheduled for Oct. 22. If convicted, Castillo could face up to six months of incarceration, and be listed for life on California’s sex offender registry, the spokesman told CNA.

Eckery said that the Diocese of San Diego does not yet know whether Castillo will face any ecclesiastical disciplinary process after his criminal trial. “We’ll be waiting to see the outcome of the criminal case. At that point, we’ll be informed and we’ll know what the next steps are,” he said.

 Full story at Catholic News Agency.

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Comments

  1. How could something like this happen under Bp. McElroy’s supervision?

  2. Highest congratulations to the Seminarian. One could easily be afraid that would ruin one’s ‘career’. Also congratulations the civil authorities are pursuing this first. If Fr. Castillo is convicted, I hope the Church takes strong action against him.

    • Your Fellow Catholic says:

      I agree. I also wish the same for the straight priests who have done similar things over the same time frame.

      • Priests who are attracted to females should be punished too. They are minor players in the sex abuse scandal. The parties who are causing most of the problems should be dealt with first. Once the well connected homosexual mafia is dealt with, the petty criminals that remain will be a lot easier to clean up in comparison.

  3. Is there no end to this? Keep homosexuals out of the priesthood. How hard is that? Why won’t bishops heed the Church’s own directives and common sense?

    • St. Christopher says:

      “Anonymous” is exactly correct: the Church must eliminate all homosexuals from the seminary (or refuse to admit them in the first place), and from the clergy (if they were successful in being ordained). No exceptions, even for men who have been chaste. The temptations are simply too great. Further, the homosexual orientation is “disordered” under Natural Law (and, for now, the Catechism). Affected men, of course, can certainly be holy and attain Heaven. They will have to forego becoming priests. Pray for homosexual men with the strength to understand this problem. Fight the others.

  4. gloria brumbaugh says:

    I was so sad my tears ran a flood of sorrow, I will pray for the victim and his family, I am also going to pray for Father Juan.

  5. Update from today’s LifeSite News. Notice how the diocese spokesperson tries to weasel around the priest’s canonically unacceptable behavior by using the word “consensual.”

  6. Shallow integrity sometimes brings us to harm. Hope that he can still bounce back.

  7. WAKE-UP TIME says:

    So McElroy ushers OUT of San Diego a good and faithful priest, Fr. Perozich, and welcomes IN a priest, Fr. Garcia Castillo who promptly sexually abuses a seminarian. For a bishop so obsessed with climate change, he seems oblivious to the “climate” of his own diocese. A pity.

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