A Granger School District first-grade teacher has been indicted on federal charges connected with child pornography.
At a probable cause hearing Friday morning, prosecutors announced a grand jury had charged Stephen Castilleja, 27, of Prosser, with three counts of production of child pornography, one count of distribution of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography.
The production charges carry a punishment of no less than 15 years in prison but no more than 30 years. The distribution charge carries a punishment of no less than five years but no more than 20 years, and the possession charge carries a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison.
Law enforcement arrested Castilleja last month after authorities said explicit videos were found on computer equipment at his home. Castilleja also faces state charges of rape and molestation. Court records indicate the alleged victims were 4 to 6 years old.
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Indictment records obtained Friday show the produced videos go back to as early as 2007, 2013 and 2015. The indictment says each of the three production charges stems from involvement of some kind with a different minor.
The indictment records also state Castilleja allegedly distributed child pornography via the internet in early January. The last count on possession is dated to last month, when Castilleja was arrested for allegedly having videos on his computer equipment at home.
Additional court records indicate a pretrial conference and trial will likely move to the U.S. District courthouse in Richland. A pretrial conference is tentatively scheduled for July 26 and jury trial on Aug. 15.
During the Friday hearing, Castilleja said he would continue using legal counsel provided by the regional federal defenders office.
According to his employment history, Castilleja was employed as a first-grade teacher in Granger for more than two years. The district has since decided not to renew his contract for next school year as a result of his incarceration, arrest and pending criminal charges; he is still under paid administrative leave through the end of his current contract.
Prior to Granger, he worked in the Prosser School District for five years.
As of Friday afternoon, Castilleja remained in the Yakima County jail under a U.S. marshal hold. He has been held without bail under federal custody.