Former Portales cop accused of sex with a minor (Updated)

A former Portales police officer is charged with 31 felonies, accused of maintaining a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl he met while serving as the department's school resource officer.

Castillo

Victor Castillo, 45, of Clovis was charged Friday and later released from Curry County jail after posting $100,000 cash or surety bond ordered by District Court Judge Donna Mowrer.

State police and District Attorney Matt Chandler's investigators allege in court documents that Castillo engaged in sex with the girl during a party at his home and in his squad car and also sent her inappropriate photographs via cell phone.

They also charge they found at least 10,000 photographs of young girls on Castillo's cell phone and cautioned they believe there may be more young victims.

Castillo's attorney Kirk Chavez said he speaks for his client, whom Chavez said is innocent and has cooperated with state police and Chandler's office since the investigation was launched about two weeks ago. Castillo denied most of the allegations against him in an interview with police, court records show.

Castillo was fired from the Portales Police Department on July 13 for not meeting the terms of his one-year probation, according to Lt. Mark Cage.

Among the numerous charges Castillo faces are contributing to the delinquency of a minor, sexual exploitation of a child, criminal sexual contact of a minor, criminal sexual penetration of a minor and tampering with evidence.

Chandler said if convicted on all 31 felony counts, Castillo faces as much as 75 years in prison.

State police said they learned of the party at Castillo's home northwest of Clovis from an adult probation officer and her minor daughter, a friend of the alleged victim.

Castillo's cell phone was confiscated, but investigators initially found no evidence of inappropriate pictures or videos, records show.

After the phone was sent to a forensic lab in Albuquerque, 10,000 deleted photos and three videos were recovered from the phone, records show, including more than a dozen sexually explicit pictures.

Investigators determined it was while performing his duties as school resource officer from January through May that Castillo came to meet two juvenile females involved in the allegations against him, records show.

Investigators also learned that Castillo was removed as school resource officer at the end of the school year due to complaints from school personnel, records show.

School Superintendent Randy Fowler and High School Principal Melvin Nusser said they were not aware of any issues or complaints concerning Castillo during the school year.

According to a press release issued by Chandler on Friday night, Castillo "manufactured, possessed and/or distributed sexually explicit photos and videos of at least two female students from Portales High School."

Chandler also said he and state police are requesting assistance from the public in identifying other girls in photographs found on Castillo's cell phone.

Cage said Castillo was placed on administrative leave with pay on July 11 after the mother of a 16-year-old girl reported she believed Castillo was having "inappropriate interaction" with her daughter.

Cage said after a brief internal investigation, the department released Castillo from employment and turned the investigation over to state police, who investigated with the district attorney's office.

"The Portales Police Department has worked closely with and wholeheartedly supports the district attorney and the New Mexico State Police in the investigation of this incident," Cage said in a press release. "The department is dedicated to seeking justice for crime victims in the city of Portales. We will continue to move forward after this unfortunate incident and continue to serve the residents of the city of Portales."

Cage said the school resource officer program will be suspended for the next school year while the department works with Nusser and Fowler to improve the program.

He said the decision to suspend the program for one year was made prior to the alleged incidents with Castillo.

Fast facts

Concerned parents:

• Parents of Portales students with concerns about the allegations against former school resource officer Victor Castillo may call New Mexico State Police Lt. Matt Broom at 763-3426 or District Attorney Agent Dan Aguilar at 799-2918.

Castillo

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