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Father says he is sorry for science fair hoax
by Sarah Taylor, Jason Collins, & Jeff Latcham
Jun 11, 2010 | 41858 views | 14 14 comments | 82 82 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dr. J.R. Castillo admits the “recognition” his daughter received from the “2010 National Science Fair” was indeed a hoax.

“With that being said, we sincerely apologize to anyone and everyone who was affected by this. This has been a drain on our family and I just want to move on,” Castillo wrote in an e-mail. “What was intended to be a way to honor our daughter for a job well done on her project has really gotten out of hand and we’re ready to put this behind us.”

His daughter was featured last week in this newspaper for receiving the award. A letter – which accompanied an engraved trophy, plaque and medal – attributed to the National Science Foundation (NSF) congratulated the fourth-grader at R.A. Hall Elementary School.

The NSF dismissed the award this week as a hoax since it does not even conduct a national science fair.

The story, picked up from this newspaper’s Web site, www.mysoutex.com, has become a hot topic of discussion on both science and political blogs.

Most bloggers quickly hypothesized that the story was a hoax and even contacted this newspaper for more information which led to Wednesday’s follow-up story exposing the truth.

“I had the unfortunate duty to have to explain to my daughter what was going on,” Castillo said in the e-mail. “She understands, but what upset her and us even more is that she was already being teased and asked by her friends about the incident.

“This is very unfair and very unfortunate... She had nothing to do with this and she is absolutely an innocent victim. We are now worried about the long-term effects and any and all repercussions that result from all of this.”

Bloggers at www.reddit.com/r/science/comments/ccoct/the_fake_science_fair_award_what_sort_of_person/ also raised numerous questions about Castillo’s own claimed credentials.

In 2008, Castillo ran for Beeville ISD trustee-at-large after serving previously on the board as Sub-District II representative. In his paid political announcement printed in the Bee-Picayune, his listed credentials included a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, a master’s degree in environmental engineering and a doctorate degree in chemical engineering.

The announcement said that Castillo attended the University of Texas at Austin, but did not say for which portion or portions of his education.

A phone call to the UT-Austin records office found that the university has no record of Castillo graduating with any degrees at that university, although he did attend from 1990 to ’94.

One of Castillo’s band Internet sites claims that he holds a master’s degree from Tulane University. Tulane has no record of Castillo graduating either.

The online bio also lists a master’s degree in music business and technology from the Berklee College of Music. A check with Berklee found that he had taken online classes for a certificate but had stopped in the spring of 2009 without completing the program.

Though he has cited his various degrees on his Web sites and while campaigning, Castillo repeatedly would not reveal from where the degrees actually came.

“The info you’ve come across on my sites is outdated and not correct. But for the record, I am resuming my studies with my master’s program at Berklee this summer that I suspended temporarily in the spring of 2009,” Castillo said in that e-mail. “I apologize to anyone who feels that they have been misled.”

A Classmates.com Web site for “Jaime R. Castillo” lists those schools in addition to Southern Methodist University and Auburn University.

A check at SMU records showed that he hasn’t attended that university. A record check with AU is still pending.

Castillo, who is also a musician, lists Safetex, USA and Castillo Global Technologies as his engineering business concerns.

However, a search of the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Web site turns up nothing for either of the firms. A search of the Texas Board of Professional Engineers rosters finds no listings for either company or Castillo himself.
Comments
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prevaricator
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July 04, 2010
All I have to say is little girl I am sorry your dad is unable to tell the truth. As for you "DR" JR, your response still shows that you haven't learned anything from this. "You are the one that is going to have to explain it to your daughter" Well...yes, its not about your feelings is it? Yes she is being teased...why because of you. When are you going to learn that honesty is the best policy? Never I guess. Good luck with that, it's gotten you so far in life already. How is Beeville Texas working out for you?
carriepm
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July 04, 2010
Its unfortunate that this little girl has to pay for the web of lies spun by her father. It really makes me sick. He has been nothing but a pathological liar for the last 15 years. After all those record deals he claimed to have, all those trips to nashville he was making and all those degrees he earned, I wonder where he found the time to make up such a story. Its sad his little girl has to pay for his indiscretions. However, from what I hear, he has no regard for the female persusion as he uses his band to showcase minimal talent to lure impressionable little girls who don't have enough sense to realize otherwise. Glad it finally caught up with you BIG STAR JR. However, I feel sorry for your little girl. It's a shame she is related to you.
notsurprisedatall
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July 03, 2010
The truth of the matter is, that I know the man, and have been affected personally, as well as many of my friends and colleagues by his lies. He is a pathological liar. I do feel sorry for his daughter, immensely, she truly is the innocent victim here, and the sad thing is, I doubt she will ever be able to trust her dad again.
beeville4life
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June 24, 2010
all i have to say is how does he get the title DR jr castillo??? he said in a recent article that he was going to start finishing some classes this fall to complete his "MASTERS"... so how is he "DR" jr castillo if he doesnt even have a masters yet... just a thought... anyone????????????
kcoffman
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June 20, 2010
I have a little different take on this. It looks to me like the girl is an innocent victim, so that leads me to consider whether her paper has merit or not. I think it does.

Climate Wisdom from Beeville, TX I sent an award and a hundred bucks. You guys in?
Beeville
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June 14, 2010
Please keep your comments on topic and be polite. Numerous comments were deleted.

Thanks for understanding.

Jason
jschub
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June 14, 2010
i just can't get over this.

You want to honor what your child did is wonderful. Then do it the right way. but create a fake fair, and going as for as making awards and a promise of space camp is to much. Then send it to the school and say look what my child has done and have it run in a paper. was to much. I think this father was after the school for there fair. And did not think he would get caught in his lie once it went public. Now he has told everyone 2 different stories and now apologizes.

I think this man is a habitual lier, and has a problem losing. You can apologize to the community but i don't think you could ever apologize enough for the embarrassment you caused your child and your family.

Everyone wants to award their children for a job well done, but this is over the top. I don't think this had any thing to do with recognition for this girl.

Whatever happened to an award of money from the parents or a night to the movies or a new video game. Maybe cloths something satisfactory for the children from the parents directly.

gjmassey
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June 14, 2010
Seems the father exhibits a pattern of telling "untruths"...degrees, businesses, but to drag his innocent daughter into it is truly sad. Great job Bee-Picayune of following up on the story once it became suspect.
jolimat
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June 12, 2010
I agree! Great follow-up! I was completely taken as well.
ahaynes
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June 12, 2010
Well done, Sarah Jason & Jeff. Thank you.

(I too was taken in by some of it - this is a good lesson for all of us.)

JohnMashey
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June 12, 2010
Screwups happen.

BUT:

I compliment your folks on your handling of this.

You have now done good followup, admitted the error, have clearly thought about it, and generally exhibited a fine level of journalistic professionalism. I've seen many big-city and even famous newspapers do far less well.

Since the climate change topic has been raised, I offer a pointer to a relevant publication of which you might want to read a few pages relevant to Texas. The US Global Change Research program has a nice 2009 report "Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States." It's written by experts (including Katharine Hayhoe @ Texas Tech, a good scientist and communicator as well), well-illustrated for a general audience. It's freely available online:

http://www.globalchange.gov/publications/reports/scientific-assessments/us-impacts

Most usefully, it has ~5-page sections, one for each region of the country, explaining our best estimates of what to expect over the next 100 years. The outcomes depend at leas somewhat on our choices although the lag times mean they mostly affect children or grandchildren. Beeville is near the edge of 2 of their regions:

http://www.globalchange.gov/publications/reports/scientific-assessments/us-impacts/regional-climate-change-impacts/great-plains

http://www.globalchange.gov/publications/reports/scientific-assessments/us-impacts/regional-climate-change-impacts/southeast
Saltpork
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June 11, 2010
Saltpork is a Doctor too. A Doctor of Love!

This is only reflective of many in today's society from little punks in the neighborhood to our current leadership in Washington. You want something or want to be something without earning it? Just take it or claim it. No job but want a $300,000 home? Claim an income of $500,000 a year and ACORN will force a bank to give you a loan on stated income.

Obama Pretender to the Throne.
Islander98
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June 11, 2010
Wow - this really is sick. If "Dr." Castillo didn't want it to go this far - why would he have set the whole thing up?

Poor girl. I hope her father has learned a lesson.
jolimat
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June 11, 2010
This is just sick! That poor little girl! My daughter goes to school with her and I'd ground her until Christmas if I found out she was saying rude things to Julisa!

Although I understand the motives behind what this man did, I don't think he ever thought it would go this far. However, his lies are going to scar this sweet little girl forever! His credentials are in question and his sanity should be also. It doesn't seem like he did this for his little girl but needed recognition for himself.

I'm so sorry for her...he should be examined by a psychologist.