A school teacher in the area pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence in connection with a case in which he allegedly arranged a meeting with a person posing as a 15-year-old girl to have sex.
Jonathan D. Castell, 46, of Wallkill, pleaded guilty on Thursday, Sept. 5, for deleting electronic communications between himself and a person posing as a 15-year-old girl who he arranged to meet in Queens for sex, said the Orange County District Attorney's Office.
At the time that Castell pleaded guilty, he admitted having deleted the messages so that they could not be used as evidence against him, said the DA's Office.
Castell, who at the time was a teacher with the Middletown School District, had been communicating over the internet with an adult who was posing a 15-year-old girl.
He admitted deleting communications he had sent that included: “So any chance I can see a pic of you in your nice comfy bed?”, and, “I do feel a little weird because of the age difference but honestly it also excites me.”
Castell also admitted deleting a message from the purported 15-year-old asking, “This is kinda strange a strange question but if we did anything could u bring protection?” as well as Castell’s response which was, “I can”.
When Castell traveled to Queens on July 27, 2018, to meet the 15-year-old, he was confronted by an adult man, who recorded his interactions with Castell, and who told Castell that he knew why he had come to Queens, and that law enforcement authorities were being notified of Castell’s behavior and that he would be arrested, the DA's Office said.
“It is disturbing that a school teacher would engage in this type of conduct and then seek to cover it up,” said District Attorney David Hoovler. “I urge all those who have information that someone may be seeking to act in a manner which endangers children to contact law enforcement officials. Although the group which communicated with this defendant posing as a 15- year-old girl and recorded him coming to Queens, alerted police of the defendant’s afterward, additional evidence and investigative steps might have been possible if the police had been notified earlier.”
Castell admitted that when he returned to his Wallkill home he deleted his communications pertaining to meeting with the purported 15-year-old.
Castell is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 5.
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