Federal prosecutors have added to charges against a former Granger teacher to include a fourth alleged child pornography victim.
Stephen J. Castilleja, 27, already faces several charges in state and federal court for allegations dating back to 2007.
A superseding indictment filed earlier this month in U.S. District Court includes six charges for production, distribution and possession of child pornography.
The four counts of distribution carry the most weight with a sentencing range of 15 to 30 years in federal prison.
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Castilleja has an Aug. 22 hearing in the Federal Courthouse in Richland to enter pleas to the amended charges.
Senior Judge Ed Shea has been assigned to the case. Trial is set for Nov. 14.
Castilleja was a first-grade teacher at Roosevelt Elementary School when the allegations first came to light last spring. He was placed on administrative leave because of the criminal investigation.
Superintendent Margarita C. Lopez then opted not to renew Castilleja’s employment contract for the 2016-17 school year.
He did not file a request for reconsideration.
Castilleja was transferred from Yakima County to the Benton County jail on July 21, and is being held as a contract inmate for the U.S. Marshals Service.
Magistrate Judge Mary K. Dimke in June ordered him held without bail because of what appears to be compulsive behavior and “the brazenness of the alleged behavior against vulnerable victims.”
Castilleja had a scheduled hearing on his Benton County Superior Court cases this week, but was not brought to court.
He is charged with first-degree child molestation, sexual exploitation of a minor and two counts of first-degree child rape. No trial date is set.
Castilleja’s family home in Prosser was searched May 12 based on information received by the South-East Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
Castilleja told investigators that before working in Granger, he worked for Prosser schools from 2009-14, and had served as a mentor with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton and Franklin Counties in the Prosser branch.
He allegedly admitted that authorities would find “inappropriate videos” on his computer, and said “he was very embarrassed to talk about the videos and he felt he might lose a lot of his life over the videos.”
Castilleja estimated that he looked at child porn at least 10 to 15 minutes each day “when at his worst,” and said he could not bring himself to delete his collection, federal documents said.
Investigators found illicit videos on an external hard drive, including one video that reportedly was recorded beneath a desk in a school classroom with other children present.
Federal documents say Castilleja knew he had a problem over a 15-year period, but did not seek help.
Instead, he sought “employment and volunteer opportunities that placed him in a position of trust with children of the same age as those depicted in the child pornography.”