Wrestling coach accused at trial of paying player for nudity

May 11, 1994|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Sun Staff Writer

An Anne Arundel County prosecutor told a Circuit Court jury yesterday that she will prove that a 27-year-old Annapolis wrestling coach offered one of his players money to perform a sex act and paid him to run around his house naked.

Sean Mark Castorina of the 600 block of Skipjack Court is charged with child abuse linked to incidents that allegedly occurred a year ago when he was wrestling coach and development officer at Riverdale Baptist School in Prince George's County. The case is being heard before Judge H. Chester Goudy Jr.

In opening statements yesterday, Assistant State's Attorney Kathleen Rogers said Mr. Castorina recruited the alleged victim to attend the school because of his wrestling prowess. He then showed the 14-year-old boy preferential treatment in his freshman year, she said.

He let the boy drive his car, did his school projects and homework for him and had him spend several nights at his house, Ms. Rogers said.

During the 1992-1993 school year, Mr. Castorina paid the boy $40 to run around his Annapolis home naked and offered him $100 to perform a sex act, she said.

Mr. Castorina's lawyer, William J. Rowan III, said the payment represented $1 for each of the boy's 40 victories during the wrestling season and that his client would deny offering the youth $100 to commit a sex act.

His client liked the young man, Mr. Rowan said, but there was no sex or child abuse involved.

In pretrial arguments yesterday, Ms. Rogers said she plans to introduce pairs of the boy's bikini-style underwear as evidence because police found them in a search of Mr. Castorina's house on Aug. 8, 1993.

Mr. Castorina's lawyers argued against admitting the underwear, saying that what police confiscated was not included as evidence sought in the search warrant application.

Though there are no allegations that Mr. Castorina had sex with the boy, Ms. Rogers told the jury he committed child abuse in the way he exploited a child who was legally "under his temporary care or custody." The effect on such a young victim can be just as significant, she said.

"It's much more subtle, but it can be just as damaging," Ms. Rogers said.

Mr. Rowan said the credibility of the defendant and the alleged victim will be key.

"This boy's reputation for truth and honesty is not good," he told the jury.

By contrast, he said, Mr. Castorina has been married for 3 1/2 years, is a Sunday school teacher and has taken dozens of students on skating trips, field trips and camping trips.

Mr. Rowan said teen-agers who spent the night at Mr. Castorina's always did so with their parents' permission. Mr. Castorina and his wife, Beverly, became "like surrogate older brothers and sisters" for many of the boys at the school, he said, adding that Mrs. Castorina was home when the alleged abuse occurred.

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