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Priest admits abusing 4 teens

A Roman Catholic priest has admitted he engaged in sexual misconduct with four teens, his bishop said Monday.

The admission by the Rev. Richard Castillo, 43, came after months of evaluation and treatment, the Most Rev. John H. Ricard, bishop of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, said in a written statement issued by his office.

"These admissions effectively relieve Father Castillo of any pastoral duties in the diocese," Ricard said. "The diocese deeply regrets the injuries caused by one of its own priests and offers a sincere apology to those who were injured."

The first accusation came from a man during a court hearing. After the man's accusation, Castillo was relieved of his duties at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Quincy in April. He enrolled himself in a church-run medical facility to undergo a mental evaluation and is continuing to receive treatment there, Ricard said.

Richard Watts, 24, had accused the priest of performing oral sex on him when he passed out from drinking during a party in Castillo's home at Pensacola Beach seven years ago. Watts then was a student at Pensacola Catholic High School.

Watts was sent to prison in February to serve a five-year sentence after being convicted of drunken driving-manslaughter in the Aug. 7, 1996, death of his girlfriend, Kimberly Lamar, in a car crash. He made the accusation against Castillo during the presentencing investigation phase of his case.

Castillo initially denied the allegation. Subsequently, two Tallahassee brothers, now 30 and 28, also accused Castillo of molesting them when they were 14 and 13 in Pensacola. No details have been disclosed about the fourth victim.

In June, Ricard confirmed that underage drinking had taken place at parties the priest hosted for teenagers. At that time the dioceses had announced investigators were unable to corroborate Watts' complaint but that the new allegations may show a pattern.

Ricard said the diocese notified proper authorities as required by state law when each of the accusations became known and has offered counseling and pastoral care to the victims. The same would hold true if any additional accusations are made, he said.

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