On Thursday, December 9, 2021, a Merced County Jury returned guilty and true verdicts on all charged offenses and enhancements against 52-year-old Conrad Castillo of Delhi, California.
Mr. Castillo was found by the jury to have repeatedly molested two children who were part of his extended family.
In May of 2020, the then adults victims reported the sexual abuse to their father. He, in turn, reported the circumstances to his local police who forwarded the investigation to the Merced County Sheriff’s Office.
In telephone calls between Mr. Castillo and the confidential victims’ father, Mr. Castillo admitted to using his tongue while touching one of the victims as well as some other behavior. However, when the Merced County Sheriff’s Office attempted to arrest him at his home, Mr. Castillo provided a false name and failed to immediately cooperate with Sheriff’s deputies.
Jury questionnaires went out on November 16, 2021, and the jury selection process began on November 30, 2021. The jury heard testimony from both confidential victims and their father. They also heard the defendant’s explanation for his conduct – that he may have touched the children in play or during a greeting, but he never touched them in a sexual way.
In the end, Mr. Castillo was convicted of two felony counts of oral copulation with a child under the age of ten, and three counts of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child under the age of fourteen.
The jury also found true that Mr. Castillo sexually abused more than one victim, and that they were under the age of ten at the time of the abuse.
Mr. Castillo will be sentenced by Merced County Superior Court Judge Steven Slocum on January 13, 2022. He faces a possible sentence of 105 years to life in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Detective Ortiz from the Merced County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case, and Deputy District Attorney Sara Rosenthal prosecuted the matter.
The confidential victims and their family released a joint statement:
“We would like to thank Judge Slocum and the jury for their time and effort to evaluate this case. We are especially thankful for DDA Sara Rosenthal and Detective Ortiz for their dedication and hard work. Lastly, we are greatly appreciative to have had District Attorney Victim Advocates Lu Brown and Yvette Villa as our support system throughout this case and during the trial. We now look forward to moving on and living in peace.