A Chalmette man averted his trial on charges he molested an 8-year-old girl on Tuesday (Feb. 23), pleading guilty as charged to three counts of sexual battery in exchange for a 2-year prison sentence.
Jose Castillo, 46, also must register as a sex offender for 25 years after his release from a state prison and faces a lifetime of supervision.
The victim, now 23, asserted Castillo molested her around 2000, but she delayed reporting the crime almost a decade. Castillo, a Honduras native who lived in Old Jefferson at the time of the crimes, was arrested Dec. 28, 2009 and was released two days later after posting a $100,000 bond, records show.
He has been free from incarceration since then. With his plea, Castillo was taken into custody to begin his prison sentence.
Jury selection was set to begin Tuesday morning when Castillo opted to plead guilty. Judge Adrian Adams of the 24th Judicial District Court accepted the plea and handed down the sentence.
At the time of the offense, the punishment for sexual battery of juveniles was up to 10 years in prison. The Louisiana Legislature since increased the sentence for that crime to 25 years to 99 years in prison.
Assistant District Attorneys Matt Clauss and Rachel Africk prosecuted the case.