Ex-senator expelled in ASO rape case

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EXPELLED AND BANNEDFormer ASO Senator Roy Castillo is forbidden to set foot on any SWC campus following an investigation of sexual assault and threatening behavior. Photo by: Natalie Mosqueda

Former ASO senator and student president candidate Roy Castillo has been banned from all Southwestern College campuses following charges that she raped another senator at a student leadership conference in Los Angeles.

Castillo was expelled and barred from setting foot on any SWC campus when a Title IX complaint filed by rape victim Eduardo Orantes was sustained. Orantes, 19, claimed Castillo plied him with alcohol and raped him at a 2016 leadership conference. Orantes also filed a police report against Castillo and said he will soon file a lawsuit. Castillo is also charged with providing alcohol to someone under age.

Orantes, former ASO Senator of Counseling and Student Support Programs, said he filed a Title IX complaint after Castillo raped him then coerced him into silence for months. Both charges have been sustained by the college.

Castillo denied the charges and said she would appeal the ban.

SWC President Dr. Kindred Murillo acknowledged the Castillo case, but declined to discuss specifics.

“I want to be clear that we will take, and have taken, appropriate action,” she said.

In his police statement, Orantes said the rape occurred in a hotel room he, Castillo, and ASO Senator Lauren Snyder were assigned to share at the California Community College Student Affairs Association. Orantes said Castillo purchased a bottle of Fireball Cinnamon Whisky and encouraged him to drink the entire bottle. Orantes said he drank whisky while Castillo and Snyder smoked marijuana out of an apple they shaped into a smoking device. Snyder seemed tired and appeared to fall asleep.

“Lauren was already passed out, so Roy told me to just drink the rest of the bottle,” Orantes said.

Orantes said after he and Castillo were intoxicated, Castillo began kissing his chest and performed oral sex on him. He said Castillo next compelled him into a sexual act. Orantes said he was very intoxicated, scared and did not know how to react.

“Roy pulled me back (the next day) and told me I had to take it to the grave,” he said. “If I didn’t, she’d make sure I was kicked out of the ASO.”

(Castillo currently identifies as a transgender female. It is the policy of The Sun to use personal pronouns congruent with a person’s sexual identification rather than their birth sex. Castillo publicly identified as a male at the time of the sexual assault, but asked to be identified as female shortly after the incident.)

Orantes said Castillo also threatened to tell his love interest, ASO Senator Andreanna Vazquez, if he reported the rape.

Vazquez and Castillo worked in the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion under its director Dr. Guadalupe Corona. Vazquez said Castillo would frequently taunt her about Orantes’ genitalia.

“It would make me feel uncomfortable,” she said. “It would happen whenever we were alone in the office.”

Vazquez said she did not initially report the comments to Corona due to a fear of retaliation.

“I wanted to keep it tranquil in the work place, so I felt like my hands were tied,” she said.

Corona successfully nominated Castillo for a 2017 Diversity Champion of the Year award. Castillo also ran for ASO President during the spring 2017 semester while the college’s Title IX investigated her for sexual misconduct. Castillo barely lost the race to Kirstyn Smith.

Vazquez said she reported the workplace harassment to Corona. She said Corona warned her of the backlash she would face if she decided to report Castillo.

“Dr. Corona told me Roy was a protected class and that I needed to be careful,” Vazquez said. “What I say could come back and shoot me in the foot because she (Castillo) is transgender.”

Corona said she gave Vazquez a choice on filing a Title IX complaint against Castillo, but refused further comment.

“That’s employee conversation that I wouldn’t have with any of my employees in public,” she said.

Snyder said she was not asleep during the rape and later reported the incident.

“I reached out to SWC leadership and nothing was done,” she said. “It was one of the reasons I resigned from ASO.”

Students are required to sign behavioral agreements that include a pledge not to consume alcohol, marijuana or drugs on school-funded trips.

Orantes said he complained to ASO advisor Brett Robertson about sleeping arrangements that had him sharing a bed with a gay male and having a woman in the room. Robertson said he tried to make informed decisions about which students to place in the hotel rooms together. Roommates are determined by individual needs of students, he said, but would not specify further. He also insisted he did not put Castillo, Snyder and Orantes in a room together.

“I didn’t make that decision,” Robertson said. “Some of the decisions that were made by some of the students that I didn’t know about.”

Castillo did not publicly identify as female until later last semester, said former ASO senator Zach Valdez. He said Castillo identified as a queer male when Valdez met Castillo at an ICC retreat.

“When I met her, that is not how she introduced herself,” said Valdez. “She had identified as a man a year back.”

Valdez also said Castillo made unwelcomed sexual comments to him.

“She (Castillo) would tell me that I’m attractive and she’d say ‘I would totally sit on your dick’ to me,” said Valdez.

Castillo continued to harass him after their friendship ended, Valdez said, sending him numerous vicious and insulting text messages. Castillo threatened that the consequences would be dire if the two saw each other again. Valdez said he had recruited Castillo to the ASO, but now deeply regrets that.

“I feel like I let a poison, a parasite, into the ASO,” said Valdez.

A police report was filed by Orantes with Chula Vista Police Department. It was then passed to the Los Angeles Police Department, where the Los Angeles County District Attorney will decide whether to press rape or sexual assault charges.

“I don’t think the punishment (levied by SWC) is appropriate for the level of stuff that happened,” Orantes said. “It just feels like a slap on the wrist for her.”

TOXIC TEXTS— Former ASO colleagues have lined up to accuse former senator Roy Castillo with sexual misconduct, threatening behavior and harassment. Former senator Zach Valdez endured a series of abusive texts from Castillo.

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