CLEVELAND - Ariel Castro told a full courtroom at his sentencing that he is not a monster and that his house, with his victims, had harmony.
He addressed the court for nearly 15 minutes before being officially sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.
In his often rambling account of his life and the abductions, he at times, apologized for his actions, and at other times, seemed intent on placing blame on a sexual addiction.
"I believe we heard a lot of excuses," said Sondra Miller of the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center. "They are excuses we are use to hearing from perpetrators of sexual violence," she continued. Miller said victims of sexual assault are more likely to experience depression, anxiety or be addicted to drugs. "What we know here at the Rape Crisis Center is that millions of people experience sexual violence in their lifetime. [They] never use that experience as an excuse to harm other human beings."
Castro also denied any abuse of the women and spoke of being a wonderful father to the 6-year-old daughter that Amanda Berry gave birth to in captivity.
Here's his entire transcript:
"Uh,first of all, I am a very emotional person, so I'm gonna try to get it out. I stated before that I was a victim of sex acts as a child...this led me to view pornography my whole life.
Eventually after I held jobs, because I always worked, what I'm trying to get at is that people are trying to paint me as a monster, and I'm not a monster. I am sick. My sexual problems are so bad on my mind that I'm impulsive.
Eventually I married, had four children, lived a normal life. But I still practiced the art of touching myself and viewing pornography. I believe I am addicted to porn to the point that it really makes me impulsive and I don't realize what I'm doing is wrong. I know its not an excuse, I'm not trying to make excuses here because I know when I told Dave at the sex crimes, I will be put away forever. I'm not contesting that.
I've been a musician for a long time, maybe 25 years, and to be a musician and a monster like they're trying to say I am, I don't think I could handle it. I'm a happy person inside. I drove a school bus for 25 years. I did a very good job toward the end, I started slacking off, trying to get fired, it was just too much, the job was too stressful and coming home to my situation,..I just couldn't juggle both of them.
But um...I never had a record until I met my children's mother. My son was on there the other day saying how abusive I was. I was never abusive until I met her. And he failed to say that at the end, before she passed away, that them two weren't even talking. So what I'm trying to say, what they're saying that I was a wife beater, its wrong.
This happened because I couldn't get her to quiet down. I would continuously tell her that the children are right there, would you please? She would respond, 'I don't care that the children are there' and she would just keep going, and the situation would escalate onto the point she would put her hands on me, and I reacted by putting my hands on her back. I know that's not right.
After living with her for 12 years, we separated and I was single for about five years. In that time, I continued to practice the art of masturbation and pornography. It got so bad that I used to do it 2-3 hours a day, nonstop. And when I would finish, I would just collapse right there.
When I picked up the first victim, I didn't even plan it that day. It wasn't something like they're trying to make it look like I did, and I planned it and I was thinking about it. I didn't do that.
That day I went to Family Dollar, and I heard her oversay something about she needed to get somewhere, and I reacted on that. When I got up that day, I didn't say I'm gonna get up and try to find some women, because that wasn't my character. But I know its wrong, and I'm not trying to make excuses here, I know I'm 100 percent wrong for doing that.
I'm just saying that they're saying I'm a violent person. I'm not a violent person. Like I said, I drove a school bus, I was a musician, i had a family. I do have value for human life because every time I came home, I was so glad for the situation, as crazy as it may sound.
And my daughter, she just made everyday for me after she was born. She never saw any violence going on at that house, Your Honor. If anyone was to question her, she'll say the opposite. She'll say my dad is the best dad in the world because that's how I tried to raise her those six years...so she wouldn't be traumatized or anything like that. She had a normal life in those six years...I tried to take her out to public to give her a normal life, look this is how it works, I would take her to church, I will come home and just be normal like a normal family. These accusations that I would come home and beat her, them, those are totally wrong, Your Honor. Because like I stated before, I am not a violent person. I
know what I did was wrong but I'm not a violent person. I simply kept them there without them being able to leave.
Um..I know when I picked up the second victim which was Gina. I don't understand how I passed up my own daughter to pick her up. I was driven by sex and no I did not know who she was. I saw her walking with my daughter but I did not know she was related to the DeJesus family. Because I know her dad. We went to school together. We didn't see much of each other in school but I know him from school.
Um....Amanda, she got into my vehicle without even knowing who I was. I don't blame them, I'm not putting fault on her, but I'm just saying I'm trying to put my point across that I am not a violent predator that they're trying to make me look a monster. I am not a monster, I'm a normal person . I'm just sick. I have an addiction. Just like an alcoholic has an addiction. Alcoholics cannot control their addiction. I couldn't control my addiction, Your Honor.
But ..um...most of the sex that went on at the house, that was all of it, was consensual. These allegations about being forceful on them ..that is totally wrong. Cuz there was times they would even ask me for sex; many times. And I learned that these girls were not virgins from their testimony to me. They had multiple partners before me. All three of them.
But uh...that's basically it, I just want to clear the record that I am not a monster, I did not prey on these women. I just acted on my sexual instincts because of my sexual addiction. As God as my witness, I never beat these women like they're trying to say that I did. I never tortured them.
Finally, I would like to apologize to the victims. To Amanda Berry,Gina Dejesus and Michelle Knight. I am truly sorry for what happened. To this day, I'm trying to answer my own questions cuz I don't know why (crying) ...A man that had everything going on for himself.... I had a job, I had a home I had vehicles, I had my musical talent.....I had everything going on for me Your Honor.
I have a good history of working, of providing. I just hope they can find it in their hearts to forgive me. Because we had a lot of harmony going on in that home. If you seen the YouTube video of Amanda, this weekend, that right there itself proves that that girl did not go through no torture. Because if that was true, do you think she would be out there partying already and having fun. I see Gina in the media, she looks normal. She acts normal. A person who has been tortured does not act normal. They act withdrawn and everything. On the contrary, its the opposite. She's happy, the victims are happy. I haven't seen much of Michelle because Michelle since day one no one missed her. I never saw no flyers about her. But..I feel that the FBI let these girls down. Because when they questioned my daughter, you know, that's OK. They failed to question me. I'm her father. If they were to question me in '02 or whenever Gina was missing, it is possible it could've ended it right there.
So...and also Dave forgot to mention that I did mention to them that I was addicted to porn. but I am truly sorry to the DeJesus family, Michelle, Amanda... You guys know all the harmony that went on in that home. I ask God to forgive me. I ask my family and I apologize to my family also for putting them through all this.
I want to apologize to the state of Ohio, the city of Cleveland for putting a dark cloud over the city. I just want to apologize to everyone who was touched by these events but I do also want to let you know there was harmony in that home. There was harmony in that home. I was a good person. Even growing up, I never had a record. I just hope they find it in their hearts to forgive me. and to maybe do some research on people that have addictions. So they can see how their addiction takes over their lives.
So again, I'm sorry to all the victims, I'm m sorry to my daughter . I know that God bless her, she is a miracle child. God bless the women, too. But there was times when she was born I know I could've taken her to the ER. ...she's a victim also-but I chose not to.
Thank God nothing bad happened to her. Because last year she started getting toothaches and I said to myself, I'm gonna let her die (crying) because I know an infection could possibly take her life. I was just -the situation -your honor-was just ...(indescribable) that part of my problem that I have also I start talking and I just go blank.
So I ..I apologize to you Your Honor to bringing this case into your courtroom. Um...again.. thank you everyone and I'm sorry for everything I know two judgment days when God comes to judge me.....but I've been reading the bible, praying, asking for forgiveness....due to the fact that I do have a sexual addiction. I don't know how he's going to judge me. I don't know.
(indescribable)...what DeJesus's family said at the end, that was uncalled for. so again, thank you everyone. Thank you victims.
Please find it in your hearts to forgive me. Thank you."
A local woman remembers her own ordeal after watching Michelle Knight speak on a national TV program.
Cleveland-area residents reacted to Michelle Knight's first interview since she escaped from Ariel Castro's home, where she was held in captivity for 11 years.
Michelle Knight, who was held captive by Ariel Castro for 11 years, revealed details of what happened to her inside the convicted rapist and kidnapper's home in a national TV interview with Dr. Phil Tuesday.
An Ohio prison guard has resigned after an investigation about falsification of logs documenting checks on a death row inmate who later committed suicide.
Ohio's prison system has faced a glut of bad news in recent months, from inmate suicides to four homicides in a single prison in about a year, but long-term population growth trends are causing officials the most headaches.
Mary Jordan, a reporter for the Washington Post, will write a book for Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus about the horrors that happened inside the house on Seymour Avenue.
There are 238 sex offenders who live within a two-mile radius of the former home of late convicted kidnapper Ariel Castro, according to a public records search.
The warden will move from Correctional Reception Center south of Columbus to the same job at Madison Correctional Institution.
An Ohio bill to provide cash reparations and other assistance to the three women held captive in a Cleveland home passed the House Wednesday.