Friday, October 26, 2012

Hearing For Victory Christian Center Abuse Suspect Gets Pushed Forward

File photo of an an interior of a megachurch (Photo by John Amis-Pool/Getty Images)

Hearing For Victory Christian Center Abuse Suspect Gets Pushed Forward

Report from Houston's CBS news

Prosecutors told a judge Tuesday that more witnesses or victims could come forward as police examine more deeply allegations of sex crimes at a 17,000-member megachurch deep in the Bible Belt.
Israel Castillo, 23, a former janitor at the Victory Christian Center, attended court for a preliminary hearing Tuesday after being accused of making a lewd proposal to a 15-year-old girl, but Tulsa County Special Judge Clifford Smith postponed proceedings until Nov. 29 after lawyers for the state said new information was forthcoming from at least one person. Castillo’s lawyer and the church said they knew nothing of it.
“I was prepared this morning to announce to the court that my client and I were ready to proceed with the preliminary hearing,” lawyer Hugh Hood wrote in an email. “Mr. Castillo has entered a plea of not guilty. I will continue to demand that his due process rights are protected throughout these proceedings.”
Castillo, who also is charged with using a computer in an alleged sex crime, is free on bond pending the hearing.
Citing the ongoing investigation, Assistant District Attorney Kali Strain wouldn’t say who may step forward — another alleged victim or a witness. Tulsa Police Detective Cpl. Greg Smith, who works in the child crisis unit, said investigators are speaking with “a couple people,” but that it was too soon to label them.
“At this point, I would consider them witnesses,” Smith said in a brief interview with The Associated Press. “The district attorney wanted to give us more time” to determine how they relate to the case.

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