Chickasha High School Tutor Charged With Inappropriately Touching Student
CHICKASHA, Oklahoma - A 30-year-old teacher's assistant and high school tutor is under arrest, charged with inappropriately touching a student.
The accusation first surfaced two weeks ago and came as a surprise to local school officials, who called the tutor, Mario N. Castro, a "model employee."
Castro is a Chickasha resident, who has worked for the school district for five years.
"You are in a position of trust, and you're going to be held to a higher standard," said Maj. Elip Moore, Assistant Chief of the Chickasha Police Department.
Maj. Moore says Castro confessed to the crime.
According to the arrest warrant, Castro admitted to inappropriately touching a 16-year-old student's private parts so that he could gauge the student's interest.
"I wanted to see his attraction to me," Castro allegedly told officers.
The alleged incident happened last summer, outside of the school year, and away from school property.
Four months later, police say, the student gave a handwritten note to his counselor, in which he complained that his algebra I tutor had given him beer and groped him.
The incident allegedly occurred in the restroom of a local fast-food restaurant. Police say the student told them that's where Castro reached around and tried to fondle him. The alleged victim also told police Castro gave him beer to drink at his house.
"You hope there are not more victims," Maj. Moore said, "but a lot of times, you won't know until they are brought up on charges for the first one."
News 9 went to Castro's home to try and speak with him, but he did not come to the door.
But Shantrese Smith, a close friend, did, and she spoke in his defense, saying she was shocked at the allegations and doesn't believe them.
Smith also doesn't believe that he confessed.
"From what I heard, he was in interrogation from 3:00 a.m. 'til 6:00 a.m." Smith explained. "Honestly, I don't believe he did it."
Smith claims any 'confession' had to have been coerced by police, and claims the alleged victim had it in for Castro.
"I don't believe Mario Castro did anything like that," Smith stated. "He's not that kind of person."
Castro was taken off his job with district last week.
In a statement, Chickasha school district administrators said:
"The District has been informed that a teacher's assistant has been charged with a felony. He has been suspended with pay pending the outcome of the criminal case. From our understanding, the allegations of his conduct did not occur during the school year or on school property."
At this point, Chickasha police believe this to have been an isolated incident.
Castro's bond is set at $50,000.