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Teacher Charged With Setting Up Meeting With Teen Girl Appears In Court

Jonathan Castell
Jonathan Castell Photo Credit: New York State Police

The 44-year-old Hudson Valley math teacher who is charged with allegedly traveling to New York City with the intent of meeting up with a teenage girl was back in court this week.

Middletown High School educator Jonathan Castell had his case adjourned at Thursday afternoon’s hearing, and he is due back in court on Sept. 6, when he will face a misdemeanor charge of attempting to endanger the welfare of a child.

Castell was busted communicating with what he thought was a 15-year-old girl through social media and texting platforms, police said. In reality, he had been in contact with a network of adults who target child predators. He was confronted on July 27 in Queens. That confrontation was posted on the group’s Facebook page.

The Facebook page, Team Loyalty Makes You Family, sends out messages on different websites acting as an 18- or 19-year-old. Once a person responds, the group then tells the person they are 13 or 14 years old and if the person continues the conversation, they will work to find out who the person is and expose them

Police said that someone recognized Castell in the video and contacted law enforcement in Middletown, who arrested him four days later. Castell had worked in the Middletown School District for two decades and reportedly had a salary of nearly $100,000. He’s currently suspended without pay as school officials wait to see how his legal proceedings play out.

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