The Rock Hill Episcopal church where an accused child molester who allegedly lured neighbor kids into a secret sex attic in his home has banned him from the property and ended his ministry.
Julio “Andy” Castillo, who met the family of the alleged victims at the church and volunteered both there and with the Episcopal diocese for years, was arrested late last month for allegedly tying up and having sex with two minor boys who lived two doors down from Castillo.
Court testimony Monday where The Herald was the only media organization present for the shocking allegations that Castillo built a secret sex room and tied up one of his victims for sex showed that Castillo both a youth ministry volunteer at the church and formerly at York Place, a now-closed Episcopal home for troubled children in York.
One of the brothers, now 18, said the abuse happened when he was as young as 7. The other brother, now 20, said that he was victimized also, including the night before Castillo was married.
In a message sent out to parishioners obtained by The Herald, leaders at Episcopal Church of Our Saviour wrote that after Castillo was arrested, the church cut its ties with Castillo to make sure the church was a safe place for children. Castillo is both barred from the church property and his youth ministry was ended.
The message from the church Rector, Rev. Janice Chalaron, and Senior Warden Chip Smith states: “It has always been the policy of the Episcopal Church of Our Saviour to be in compliance with all the guidelines for creating a faithful and safe place for all of our children. As you may already be aware, Andy Castillo of our congregation has been charged with several counts of sexual abuse of a minor. Due to the seriousness of these allegations, a letter was sent out two weeks ago notifying him that his ministry with the Church was ended and that he is not allowed on Church property.”
Repeated attempts to reach church officials have been unsuccessful since the allegations became public Monday, two weeks after Castillo was arrested. York Place officials denied to comment on the allegations against Castillo.
Castillo has made no statements about the allegations. And more, his employer, family, friends, and even some people who attend the church stood on his behalf Monday. Castillo’s lawyer, Phil Jamieson, denied the allegations at and after Mondays hearing, saying Castillo looks forward to clearing his name. Jamieson pointed out in court no one else has made any allegations against Castillo.
Prosecutors did not say there were any other alleged victims but did opposed Castillo being released on bond, citing a potential danger to other children in the community. Rock Hill Police spokesman Paul Myers said Wednesday there have been no new developments in the case since Monday’s hearing.
Castillo was released on $80,00 bond Monday but will be living in a different location than the home where the alleged abuse happened.
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