For The Madera Tribune
Ruben Castrellon, the alleged predator who lost his teaching credentials because of complaints of illicit sexual activity with a student at Madera South High School.
No more public money for Castrejon
A Madera South High School teacher who allegedly impregnated one of his students and insisted that she have an abortion has reached the end of his financial windfall.
Ruben Castrejon, who has been drawing his full salary and benefits since May 2016, when he was placed on paid administrative leave, lost his teaching credential due to complaints of sexual misconduct.
As a result, he is no longer employed by Madera Unified and will receive no further compensation.
According to Kent Albertson, Chief Human Resource Officer for Madera Unified, Castrejon was paid over $200,000 in salary and benefits while he was on administrative leave.
The story of Castrejon’s alleged sexual conquest of at least one young high school girl reached the public when Leslie Swan, a former Madera South teacher stood up in a public meeting of the MUSD school board in May 2016 and informed trustees that a sexual predator was teaching at Madera South. She later identified Castrejon as the miscreant.
As a result, Castrejon was put on paid administrative leave and a police investigation was launched — the third such probe into his alleged sexual misconduct with students.
According to police reports, Castrejon was first investigated in 2007 for unlawful sex with a minor, and in 2012, he was investigated for child molestation. In both cases, he was alleged to have had unlawful sex with one of his students, but the investigations hit a dead end because the victims refused to cooperate.
In the aftermath of Swan’s May 2016 appearance, Madera police named Castrejon as the subject of a third investigation.
The Tribune has copies of the 2007 and the 2012 police reports relating to Castrejon and his alleged illegal sexual activities. It requested a copy of the 2016 police report but was denied access to it.
The 2007 police report states the teacher, “from approximately August 1999 to the year 2003, had a sexual relationship with a high school student from the time (redacted) was a ninth grader until (redacted) she graduated.”
The report goes on to state, “There was also some indication in this investigation that the teacher … is currently interested in and is pursuing another (redacted) student.”
The 2007 police report continued, “There was some indication that the two (teacher and student victim) may have had sex during the lunch hour at school. (redacted) would enter (the teacher’s) homeroom during lunch. (The teacher) would draw the curtains and put a paper over the small window of the locked door.”
The investigating officer concluded with the recommendation that the report be forwarded to detectives for review and a follow up investigation.
Police records do not show subsequent action in the case.
In May 2012, Castrejon was investigated by Madera police for “Annoy/Molest Child.” Once again the investigation appears to have hit a dead end when the alleged victim “did not want to discuss the incident.”
Subsequent to Swan’s May 2016 charges, however, the alleged victim came forward and gave her statement to police and the school district. Former MUSD Superintendent Ed Gonzalez conceded at the time that “Madera Unified is conducting a personnel investigation that was initiated by Ms. (Leslie) Swan’s allegations.”
A whirlwind of investigative activity began the day after Swan went public with her charges. She alerted The Tribune that one of Castrejon’s alleged victims was going to make a statement the next day to Madera Unified and the Madera Police Department concerning illegal sexual conduct by the teacher.
When contacted by The Tribune at eight o’clock the next morning, Swan said she was on her way with the alleged victim to the Madera Unified District office. At one o’clock p.m. Thursday, Swan gave the following account of the morning’s activities.
Swan says she arrived at MUSD’s district office shortly after 8:30 a.m. with the former student and an adult friend of the student’s. According to Swan, they were invited to a conference room where Chief Academic Officers Todd Lile (now superintendent) and Elizabeth Runyon, Rachel Donatelli, a program manager, and a person identified as the district’s investigator were assembled.
According to Swan, a period of cordial conversation ensued until an investigator from the Madera Police Department arrived. At that point, Swan says she departed, and the former student accompanied police to pursue the investigation.
On that evening, after numerous conversations with the victim, Swan told The Tribune that the former student had spent several hours during the day with the Madera police telling her story.
In response to an inquiry from The Tribune, Madera Police Sgt. Mark W. Trukki said the Castrejon case had been submitted to the Madera County District Attorney’s office in August 2016 and rejected because of the statute of limitations.
Madera Unified Superintendent Ed Gonzalez told The Tribune that he met with District Attorney David Linn in November 2016 and again on January 24, 2017.
In a conversation with Linn, the District Attorney told The Tribune that if the statute of limitations had not run out, charges would have been filed against Castrejon.
In the face of what she considered a frustrating miscarriage of justice, Swan says she contacted Dominic Conde of the Commission on Teacher Credentials and filed a formal complaint.
Madera Unified also filed a complaint with the CTC.
On Tuesday morning, Swan called The Tribune to say that Conde had informed her that Castrejon’s teaching credential had been “permanently revoked.”
According to Madera Unified, Castrejon had been continuously employed by Madera Unified as a teacher since 1998. Knowledgeable sources from Madera South informed The Tribune that Castrejon taught regular Spanish classes and Spanish for native speakers.