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Bronx day care worker Silfredo Castillo Martinez arrested on child pornography charges

Bronx day care worker arrested on child pornography charges
Bronx day care worker arrested on child pornography charges 02:23

NEW YORK -- A Bronx day care worker has been arrested on child pornography charges.

Police sources tell CBS2's Lisa Rozner at least one of the victims was a child placed in his care.

Lina's Garden Day Care on Decatur Avenue in Williamsbridge is temporarily closed, and police have released a photo of employee Silfredo Castillo Martinez. They're asking anyone whose children may have have come in contact with him to give them a call.

Earlier in May, the 32-year-old was arrested for creating and possessing child pornography. He's been employed at Lina's Garden Day Care for the last decade.

One mother who spoke to CBS2 almost enrolled her three sons there.

"Just something felt off?" Rozner asked.

"You know, like you feel as a mother," the woman said.

"He was quiet. He looked friendly. He was all the time talking," Williamsbridge resident Manuel Placencia said.

In a criminal complaint, the Bronx District Attorney says Martinez told an officer on May 3, "I download child porn movies. I got it from Telegram in different chat rooms."

Telegram is a social media app with instant messaging and file sharing features.

The officer says a search of Martinez's computer found 10 files involving children. One was an infant, and others were boys between the ages of 7-12.

A police source tells CBS2 one of the victims is a 12-year-old who attended the day care. At this point, authorities haven't found evidence there were other victims from there, but they are still investigating.

"A lot of people here send their kids over there and never had no problem about it," Williamsbridge resident Wascar Delacruz said. "Everybody love this guy."

But clear red flags aren't always there, says Dr. Mary Pulido, the executive director of the New York Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

"The people that abuse children, sexually abuse children, are master manipulators," she said. "Ninety percent of child sex abuse is committed by someone the child knows and trusts."

She says child pornography is on the rise, and she says some warning signs of abuse may be if a child is becoming clingy and wanting to avoid day care.

"It's never too early to start this conversation with your children about what parts of their body are private," Pulido said.

For now, Martinez is being held, as he has not been able to meet bail set at $100,000 cash or $300,000 bond. He's due back in court June 9.

A lawyer for Martinez told CBS2 she could not comment.

The New York State Office of Children and Family Services sent CBS2 the following statement:

"The New York State Office of Children and Family Services has zero tolerance for the alleged victimization and sexual exploitation of children entrusted to the care of child care providers. The day after OCFS learned about the arrest of Mr. Martinez, OCFS took immediate action to suspend the operations of his licensed program and a program in which he is a household member effective May 4, 2022. OCFS is pursuing permanent revocation of both licenses. Prior to licensing, Mr. Martinez completed all application requirements and passed extensive and comprehensive background checks.

"Families who have been affected and who need assistance with alternate child care are encouraged to contact one of three child care resource and referral agencies in NYC. Please see here:"

The city says it closed the day care earlier in May.

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