A Tulsa County judge sentenced former Victory Christian Church employee Israel Castillo to 18 months in prison Friday, for soliciting sex with a 14-year-old girl over the Internet.
Israel Castillo pleaded guilty in August and threw himself on the mercy of the court. The prosecution had asked for a 10-year sentence. Instead, he got a year and a half.
Castillo was a janitor at Victory Christian Church, where he also helped with various youth groups and setting up tables for large events.
The 14-year-old victim also attended the church and Castillo found her on Facebook. It was through Facebook that Castillo contacted the girl and sent sexually explicit messages.
Friday, Castillo was sentenced to 18 months in prison, five years probation, and he will have to register as a sex offender.
"He never, ever touched that girl," said Castillo's attorney, Jill Webb. "This was a three-hour conversation over Facebook, and for that he is going to have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life."
Prosecutor Sarah McAmis said, even though she was asking for a tougher sentence, she's pleased with the judge's decision and the victim is glad this part of her life is over.
"We wanted him held accountable, we wanted closure, and today that brought that," McAmis said.
McAmis said the victim was very upset over how she was treated by the church and some of its employees. She said the girl was made to feel as though it wasn't that bad of a situation and that it was her own fault.
Last December, Chris Denman, another former Victory employee, was sentenced to 55 years in prison for raping three teenage girls.
Five other Victory Christian employees knew about the sex crimes for two weeks before calling police.
McAmis said the case should send a message to anyone who has knowledge of underage girls being the sexual target of an adult.
"I hope that, going forward, people have a better understanding as to what acceptable behavior is, have a better understanding of what the reporting laws are, and I hope that we won't have to face this situation again in the future," McAmis said.
Victory Christian did not comment on Friday's sentencing and would not release information to us about some of the changes it has made in light of these cases.
It has previously told the Associated Press that a number of new programs are in place to prevent this from happening again.