CPS teacher sexually assaulted, exploited 3 of his students, prosecutors say

A Chicago Public Schools teacher was charged Friday with predatory criminal sexual assault and exploitation of a child, crimes that prosecutors said involved three of his former students.

Judge Kelly McCarthy held Andrew Castro, 36, without bail.

Officials did not identify the school by name, but he is listed as a physical education teacher at Federico Garcia Lorca Elementary School in Avondale on an archived copy of the school’s website.

Castro came to know the boys’ families over time through their sporting events, Assistant State’s Attorney Anne McCord said during his bail hearing. He grew so close that he expressed an interest in becoming their godfather.

The boys, who were between 8 and 11 years old at the time, began visiting Castro’s home to play video games, watch movies, and spend the night, according to McCord. She said from 2018 to 2019, Castro engaged the boys in a “dice game” that required whoever rolled the lowest number to expose their private parts or engage in touching.

McCord said the sexual behavior escalated, and in June 2020, Castro sexually assaulted one of the boys, who was 11 years old. He went on to assault the boy “numerous times” over the next two years, McCord alleged.

Andrew Castro | Chicago Police Department

Another victim’s parents became concerned last month when they noticed cuts on his arms. He subsequently revealed the abuse to a family member, and his parents reported it to Chicago police, said McCord.

She told Judge McCarthy that CPS suspended Castro in 2021 to investigate allegations by three additional students. Those cases, which involve reported kissing or touching a student’s buttocks during gym class, do not meet the criteria for felony charges, McCord explained.

Castro’s defense attorney said he has been an “upstanding member of society,” working as a real estate agent for nine years in addition to serving as a teacher. She said he has been working the real estate job full-time since CPS suspended him.

He also volunteers with the Best Buddies program, according to the lawyer. McCarthy expressed concern that he has been involved with a program that serves people with special needs.

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