Court-Appointed Counselor Accused of Having Sex With Teen Caught on Call, Boy's Father Says

Dad says counselor accused of sexually assaulting his son was recorded on call talking about getting drunk, lying about sleepover, and a trip to Orlando

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The father of a teen allegedly sexually assaulted by court-appointed counselor Raphael Castillo says the older man is caught on tape suggesting the pair enter into a private relationship. (Published Thursday, Oct 20, 2011)

    The distraught father of a Broward County teen allegedly sexually assaulted by a court-appointed counselor played for NBCMiami recordings of a call he says the counselor placed to his son.

    "He said he wanted to get drunk with my son, and whatever happens, happens," said the father.

    Raphael Castillo, 44, was arrested last week and charged with four counts of sexual assault and battery on the 17-year-old boy, according to a Broward Sheriff's Office arrest report.

    Investigators say Castillo began having explicit conversations with the teen shortly after they met, and admitted when questioned to ultimately having oral sex and then attempting to have anal sex with him.

    Until he was fired, Castillo worked as a counselor for The Starting Place, a non-profit based in Plantation that provides treatment and support services for kids who get into minor trouble with the law.

    The 17-year-old was sent to The Starting Place when he was arrested on a marijuana charge. The boy's father says in the call Castillo encourages the teen to take up a private relationship with Castillo.

    "He said 'Lie to your parents and tell them you want to sleep over with a guy friend.' He also wanted to take him to Orlando," said the father, who spoke of recognizing warning signs that something was amiss.

    "[My son] told me when he submitted his court ordered urine sample to the counselor, he would insist on looking at his private parts," the father said. "I told my son, 'This guy might be grooming you to something.' I found out [the counselor] was paying him money behind his mother's back."

    The family says they contacted The Starting Place, but their concerns did not prompt any action. Attorney David Fuchs said the family may soon file suit.

    "My client's father called The Starting Place on multiple occasions to warn them of the potential criminal relations between The Starting Place counselor and my client's son, and The Starting Place did nothing," Fuchs said.

    On September 21, when the teen was discharged from The Starting Place program, Castillo picked him up in his Jeep and fondled him in the vehicle, the arrest report said.

    Police also claim that on October 10, Castillo again picked up the boy and drove to an alley in the area of North 35th Avenue and Van Buren Street in Hollywood, where he had sex with the boy.

    Dr. Joel Kaufman, The Starting Place's CEO, said that Castillo was responsible for about five other young people at the time of the alleged assaults. He reiterated Thursday that Castillo was fired as soon as he was arrested.

    "Our concern has been and continues to be for the former client and his family," he said. "Raphael Castillo met the highest security clearance more than once during his employment. In addition all of our direct service clinical staff receive ongoing ethics and standards of conduct trainings, ongoing clinical supervision, and sign a non-fraternization policy regarding no involvement with a client and their family other than professional."

    Kaufman said The Starting Place is "thoroughly investigating the matter concerning Mr. Castillo and has been cooperating fully with authorities." 

    The father said he is now looking to place his son in another school because of fallout from the case.