Former Vermillion High School teacher accused of sexual exploitation of a minor

Local News

CLAY COUNTY, S.D. (KELO) — A 23-year-old teacher is facing charges in Clay County involving a student who was 15-years old at the start of the allegations.

A warrant for arrest was filed for Jeickson Pichardo-Castillo on August 19. He made his first appearance in court on August 31.

He is accused of sexual exploitation of a minor, stalking, providing alcohol for a minor, solicitation of a minor, contributing to delinquency and unauthorized operation of a vehicle.

Court documents list Pichardo-Castillo as a teacher at the Vermillion High School at the time of the alleged crimes. KELOLAND News reached out to the superintendent to find out if he is still employed by the district. The superintendent says Pichardo-Castillo is no longer an employee at the school.

According to the criminal complaint, the charges stem from events between November 2020 and May 2021.

An investigation was started on August 16 by the Vermillion Police and the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation. The now 16-year-old girl disclosed that an adult male teacher had “solicited her for sex acts and communicated with her in a constant, harassing basis via electronic messaging.”

The affidavit lists evidence that Pichardo-Castillo also provided tobacco and alcohol to the victim.

In an interview with investigators, Pichardo-Castillo denies the charges, however, he does admit to making comments that were possibly “inappropriate to the victim”. He also confirmed he knew the victim’s age. Authorities say the investigation is ongoing.

Pichardo-Castillo was released from jail following his court appearance where the judge set his bond at $5,000. His release also comes with the conditions that he not leave Vermillion or have contact with students high school age or below.

He is expected to be back in court later this month.

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