Ontario child molester sentenced to 22 years

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA — An Ontario man who confessed last year to molesting eight young girls over a 12-year span was sentenced today to 22 years in state prison.

Jack Edward Andrews, 59, admitted in an interview with police last year that he molested girls who lived in his Mountain Avenue apartment complex, as well as friends of his young daughter.

Prior to Andrews’ sentencing in West Valley Superior Court, one of his victims read a statement in court. The 22-year-old woman said Andrews molested her when she was 7 or 8.

“Hopefully it will eat at you little by little until you can’t stand it anymore,” she said. “I am glad you are going to prison and thank God that you are one less sick man in this world, and won’t be able to hurt anyone anymore.”

Andrews pleaded no contest to eight felonies in March as part of a plea bargain with prosecutors that carried a 22-year sentence.

After entering into the agreement, Andrews tried to have the deal nullified. He said the sentence was too long, and claimed he was poorly represented by the attorney who negotiated his plea bargain.

A request to have the agreement set aside was rejected this month by Judge Jon D. Ferguson.

In an interview with a San Bernardino County probation officer, Andrews admitted he was guilty and said he “did not like what he was doing,” according to a pre-sentencing report written by a probation officer.

“He is glad he was caught because now he has been stopped,” the officer wrote.

Several of Andrews’ relatives sent letters to Ferguson prior to sentencing pleading with the judge for leniency.

Andrews’ wife, Debbie Andrews, said: “To me, punishing him to almost a lifetime behind bars is a sentence that doesn’t match the crime.”

She said her husband is remorseful and remains well-loved by his family.

“He is a good man, constantly offering his assistance at church work day, to friends and neighbors that need help, and performing painting projects or splitting wood at his dad’s house in Big Bear,” Debbie Andrews wrote.

Rhonda Scheuplein, one of Andrews’ sisters, said 12 years would be an appropriate sentence for her brother.

“Twenty-two years is almost unthinkable,” she wrote. “I believe the people who live in the legal world forget about the individual person and lose sight of (the) difference between someone who is a career, repeat offender and someone who is troubled and needs help.”

Andrew had no criminal record prior to his molestation case.

Before his arrest, Andrews worked as a painter for the Chino Valley Unified School District. According to police, none of his victims were connected to the district.

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Man found guilty of pimping out 13-year-old girl

RANCHO CUCAMONGA — A 47-year-old parolee was found guilty today of having sex with an underage girl and pimping her out on Holt Boulevard in Ontario.

The verdicts against Reginald Edward Christopher stem from a three-week period two years ago when he pimped and had sex with a runaway girl from San Bernardino who was then only 13 years old.

When he was arrested for pimping the girl in October 2008, Christopher had been out of prison for only about two months.

He spent about 26 years in custody for a kidnapping, rape and robbery in the early 1980s. That period of incarceration was followed by two short prison stints for parole violations, said Deputy District Attorney Karen Schmauss.

A jury of six men and six women deliberated for about three hours before reaching their verdicts.

The seven felonies include one count of pimping a minor under 16, three counts of committing a lewd act upon a child, and three counts of oral copulation with a person under 14.

“Obviously it was the appropriate verdict based on the evidence,” Schmauss said.

Christopher is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 3 in West Valley Superior Court. He potentially faces a prison sentence of nearly 500 years to life, Schmauss said.

In an interview after the verdicts were reached, Christopher’s father, Lawrence Christopher, said his son doesn’t deserve do die in prison for his conduct with the girl.

He said the girl told his son she was an adult, and lied on the witness stand this week when she claimed she admitted to Reginald Christopher that she was underage.

“I’m positive,” Lawrence Christopher said. “I believe my son when he said he did not know how old the little girl was.”

Christopher’s attorney, Gary Olive, said that ignorance about a child’s true age is not a valid defense against charges like the ones Christopher faced. Olive did not call any witnesses during the defense portion of the trial.

In testimony this week, the girl — identified in court as Jane Doe — said she worked as a prostitute after running away from her grandmother’s home in September 2008.

She said she met Christopher soon after she ran away, and made an agreement with him the day they met for him to act as her pimp.

She agreed to split her prostitution proceeds with Christopher in exchange for clothes and protection, she testified. In the three weeks before Christopher’s arrest, the girl said he had sex with her every day.

Christopher’s prior convictions stem from a 1981 incident — when he was 16 — in which he kidnapped a woman at Valley College in Los Angeles, then raped her, robbed her and stole her car, Schmauss said.

He was sentenced to 7 years to life for the incident, and was repeatedly denied parole until 2007, Schmauss said.

After Christopher was found guilty Friday, Judge Mary Fuller raised his bail from $500,000 to $1 million.

Schmauss said she believes Christopher is a flight risk because of the lengthy prison sentence he faces.

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Man sentenced to prison for attack on ex-girlfriend

FONTANA — A man convicted of attempted murder for throwing a knife at his ex-girlfriend was sentenced to seven years in state prison Monday in Fontana Superior Court.

Humberto Araujo Jr., 20, of Fontana, was accused of attacking the woman Jan. 3 after he saw her sitting in the driver’s seat of a car that was stopped at a red light at Sierra and Randall avenues in Fontana.

According to police, Araujo, who was standing at a corner of the intersection, threw a knife through the woman’s open window, hitting her in the cheek and leaving a two-inch gash.

Araujo pleaded no contest to attempted murder in September as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.

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Ontario priest pleads not guilty to molestation

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA — An Ontario Catholic priest has pleaded not guilty to eight felony counts of committing lewd or lascivious acts with a 12-year-old boy.

Jose Alejandro Castillo, who worked as a priest the last seven years at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Ontario, entered his pleas Tuesday in West Valley Superior Court.

Castillo, known to parishioners as “Father Alex,” was arrested Monday at a parishioner’s home in the 600 block of W. Zenia Court in Ontario.

Ontario police, who began investigating abuse allegations in July, accuse the 57-year-old Castillo of committing eight sex acts with the boy. Castillo could face up to 22 years in state prison if convicted.

During Castillo’s arraignment Tuesday, which was conducted through a video link between the court and West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga, Commissioner Ronald J. Gilbert appointed the San Bernardino County Public Defender’s Office to represent Castillo.

Castillo remains jailed in lieu of $1 million bail. He is next due in court Nov. 1. A preliminary hearing, in which prosecutors must present evidence for a case to proceed to trial, has been scheduled for Nov. 4.

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Softball coach accused of kissing underage girl pleads no contest

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA – A girls’ softball coach accused of kissing a 13-year-old girl on his team last year pleaded no contest Tuesday to a misdemeanor count of battery.

Frank John Castellanos, 49, of Rancho Cucamonga, was sentenced in West Valley Superior Court to one day in jail and placed on four years’ probation.

He must stay away from the girl and register as a sex offender while on probation, and pay restitution to cover the girl’s counseling expenses, Deputy District Attorney Jason Anderson said.

“This is something that was acceptable to all sides,” Anderson said.

The prosecutor said the plea agreement came after a “collaborative process” between his office and the girl’s family that was aimed at “obtaining what was appropriate, rather than putting their daughter through a trial.”

Castellanos, who coached a team in Rancho Cucamonga, was accused of kissing the girl Feb. 11, 2009 while sitting with her in a parked car. He denied the allegation in an interview with San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies.

Castellanos pleaded no contest to battery rather than the misdemeanor that was first filed by prosecutors – annoying or molesting a child. That charge was dismissed Tuesday as part of Castellanos’ plea agreement.

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