Guilty verdict returned on most charges in rape trial

Video evidence depicting graphic sexual acts against two minors and the statements of a third victim helped a jury in Lycoming County Court Thursday convict Carlos Reuben Castro Jr.

Castro, 37, of Williamsport, was charged with 23 felonies and six misdemeanors for rape of a child, indecent assault of a person less than 13, corruption of minors, criminal attempt to rape a child and filming sexual acts of children.

Castro could be facing a maximum of 20 years in prison for each of his 17 felony charges and 40 years for the felony charge of rape of a child.

The jury, tasked with deciding if the numerous videos shown in the trial portrayed rape, proved they had taken their jobs seriously, First Assistant District Attorney Martin Wade, said.

“It was a conscientious jury. Length of deliberation was long and that’s a sign of a very good jury,” Wade said. “They treated every charge with great care and took the process seriously.”

Castro was arrested for the crimes in 2016 after his then girlfriend, Veronica Clements, 29, also of Williamsport, found his cellphone that had videos from five dates from Aug. 31 to Nov. 13 depicting him sexually assaulting two girls, five and 12 at the time. A third victim, also 12 at the time of the incident, said Castro attempted to commit various sexual acts with her.

Wade said the district attorney’s office and the families of the girls were both happy with the verdict despite Castro being found not guilty on three of the 32 charges, which included a second charge of rape of a child.

“We got rape of a child, solicitation and two attempted rapes,” Wade said. “In terms of the verdict we are very pleased.”

Wade added that he understood the trauma the families and the girls have gone through can’t be wiped away by a verdict, but hoped that knowing he is facing such a lengthy prison sentence could help to bring closure.

“They have been searching for closure and now they at least have a degree of it,” Wade said.

Castro will be back in court on Dec. 27 for sentencing and Wade said he is interested to see how Judge Marc F. Lovecchio, who he says has proven to be hard on cases involving children, will sentence him.

“We are all interested to see what Lovecchio does, but he will be fair,” he said.