The Grooming Case of Andrés Castillo

By Ana Perez, 10th Grade

Andrés Castillo is a Dominican actor who gained popularity after a few TV interviews in ‘SPK Espectaculo’ and ‘AcentoTV.’ Through these interviews, we learned more about his life story; he claimed to be a former drug addict who was ‘saved’ through acting and claimed to be the vice principal of a school. But, he was exposed for adamantly inviting a young girl to his home, late at night, for a ‘movie casting.’ The mother of the young girl shared the story through the TV show ‘El Informe con Alicia Ortega.’ For the purpose of this article, we will be referring to the girl, who chose to remain anonymous, as Jane Doe and the mother, who also chose to remain anonymous, as Ms. Doe.

Ms. Doe explains that his daughter and Castillo met through a casting; she adds that the two had a nice conversation, one that you would have with ‘someone you just met.’ Two months after their first meeting, Castillo contacted the girl through social media, where the two would text quite often. After building trust with the girl, Castillo brought up a movie he would be participating in – and he wanted Jane to join him.

“The movie is very private. The film is from Paramount Pictures. These people are not Dominicans, they are Americans, from Hollywood studios, they are very, very, very annoying people,” he told her. He wanted Jane to participate in the movie with a fairly prominent role. It was the chance of a lifetime. However, Castillo wanted Jane to attend the casting late at night, alone, without the company of her parents. After receiving this message from Instagram, Jane alerted the parents of a friend and her mother, who immediately took action. Firstly, they screenshotted and recorded all the conversations they had with Castillo. Since Jane did not answer Andrés, he became more and more frustrated and increased the level of pressure he put on the girl. He would tell Jane how she had to attend the casting soon or she’d be replaced by a prettier, smarter, and more talented American actress with experience. He also claimed that when he was younger, he would sneak out of home late at night to attend castings just to receive the opportunity. And as if that wasn’t enough, he tried to manipulate Jane by telling her that she was letting ‘fear dominate her’ by not attending the casting, even adding that ‘that fear won’t allow you to become a famous actress.’ Now, it’s important to note that child castings are required by law to take place during the day and for an adult (whether parent or guardian) to be present. 

After compiling enough evidence, Ms. Doe reported Andrés Castillo to the ‘Unidad de Atención a Víctimas de Violencia de Género del Distrito Nacional,’ but had not received a response from the authorities by the time of the original Channel 9 report. After the report, Castillo was taken in by the authorities and sent to a holding cell in the Palacio de Justicia de Ciudad Nueva. 

However, on August 24th, he was freed by Judge Francisco Rodríguez Consoró after evaluating all the evidence that was compiled by the authorities. Castillo’s legal representative, Manuel Moquete, reported after concluding the hearing that no criminal offense was configured in the case and that the magistrate had made a correct decision. “The judge analyzed all the pieces of evidence, obviously the thoughts of the minor, the mother and even the media, if a person is going to do or could have done, it does not constitute a criminal type, under Dominican justice, the magistrate has acted correctly.” Moquete clarified that there is no longer a case, and that they will evaluate later if they will countermand the plaintiff, leaving it as a possibility. 

This is not the first time something like this has happened and it certainly won’t be the last. It’s important to know how to protect yourself from dangerous people such as Andrés Castillo. 

First, we need to know what Castillo was doing. Many have described it as a poor attempt at ‘grooming.’ Grooming is a tool that predators use to gain the trust of a target, usually a minor, and ultimately manipulate that trust to gain sexual, monetary, or other advantages. 

There are seven common tactics that predators will use to manipulate their victims.

  1. Child groomers will usually single out one child by giving them special attention and gifts as a way to form a ‘special bond’ with them. 
  2. Perpetrators will often communicate secretly with the child, usually online; they will encourage texting, emailing, and calls – as long as these remain secret. Since perpetrators thrive in secrecy, they want everything that happens between them and the child to remain ‘their little secret.’
  3. Perpetrators will often try to test a child’s boundaries through different means such as jokes or games. Since perpetrators thrive in secrecy, they want to know just how much they can get away with without the child telling anyone.
  4. In order to keep the child from telling others about what’s happening, they will start to use intimidation tactics. They will begin by testing the child’s reaction to being blamed for something simple. They will see if the child pushes back or tells an adult. Then they will progress to threatening the child or causing a child to feel a sense of guilt. They often use fear or embarrassment to keep a child from telling another person about the abuse. They may use statements such as, ‘No one will believe you,’ to keep them from telling.
  5. Perpetrators will also distance the target from friends or family. This can be done in multiple ways, including surprisingly positive methods such as compliments and favors. The perpetrator may tell the intended victim that they feel an especially strong connection to them, or that they understand each other in a special way that no one else can get. By appearing calm and concerning, the predator is seeking to increase their influence over the victim to advance their agenda.
  6. The perpetrator will then start to use the target to meet their needs. With children, this is generally sexual in nature, but predators will use victims for money, to accomplish morally questionable things for them, or even just to fill an emotional need.
  7. Once the victim is doing what the predator wants, the predator will work to keep them under control through various means. These methods can include gaslighting (telling the victim their feelings are crazy or unreasonable), destroying the victim’s self-esteem, or continuing to isolate the victim from their loved ones.

There are many ways to protect yourself from these tactics according to McLaughlin (2015). First, you need to trust your instincts. Your gut feeling is there for a reason – you don’t even need to know the reason in order to listen or respond. It’s also important to take precautions online. These include saving all texts, emails, and voicemails from those who are threatening you, blocking anyone who appears creepy or unfriendly, and alerting others about behaviors that appear alarming.

This case teaches us the importance of alerting someone you trust when you feel creeped out by someone online. The only thing we can do is protect ourselves from these dangerous individuals and help others who have been targeted by them.



One thought on “The Grooming Case of Andrés Castillo

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s