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Parishioners go bail for priest

Nov. 9, 2010 at 3:22 PM

RIVERSIDE, Calif., Nov. 9 (UPI) -- A California priest accused of sex crimes against a 12-year-old boy has been freed on bail with money raised by parishioners who say they believe he's innocent.

The Rev. Alejandro Jose Castillo, 57, was arrested Oct. 25 and charged with seven counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under age 14 and one count of forcible lewd and lascivious acts with a child under age 14, The Riverside (Calif.) Press-Enterprise reported.

A group calling itself the Coalition to Exonerate Fr. Alex raised the $24,000 in bail money from hundreds of donors, organization director Ted Campos said.

Castillo is pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Ontario, Calif., but was removed from his duties in June when the Diocese of San Bernardino was informed of the allegations against him.

As a condition of his release, Castillo can have no contact with minors, the Press-Enterprise reported.

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