Wed Feb 16 04:35pm EST
David Castricone is best known for being the Godfather and architect of one of the most dominant wrestling programs in the New England. Castricone's North Andover (Mass.) High wrestlers have more victories than any other program in the region -- and third most nationally -- and are the defending state champions, widely favored to retain their crown in 2011.
Yet, if the team does win another title, it will do so without its head coach, who resigned on Monday after being arraigned on shocking charges of child pornography.
According to the Boston Globe, Associated Press and other sources, Castricone has been charged after surveillance cameras at North Andover showed him entering the girls locker room nine times in January and February, carrying a device which appears to have a viewfinder screen that may identify it as a still image or video camera.
"A lot of my friends are on the wrestling team, and he seemed like a good guy and a great coach," North Andover freshman Alex MacMillan told the Globe. "This was out of the blue, because I didn't expect to hear anything bad about him, so it's kind of surprising."
Castricone entered a not guilty plea against charges of possession of child pornography on Tuesday, as you can see in the raw video captured during the arraignment above. While Castricone entered the plea on the advice of his lawyer, police confiscated significant evidence against the 60-year-old longtime coach, including 77 pages of nude females who allegedly appear unaware they are being photographed, 129 child erotica images and eight images that were classified as direct examples of child pornography.
According to police reports, the school first began to review surveillance footage after a female student complained of seeing a man in the girls locker room on Feb. 7.
While Castrovince has not denied entering the girls locker room on Feb. 7, he alleged that he had legitimate reasons to intrude.
According to the police report, Castricone said he was having a "tough time" because his wife had started going to Florida for the winter, and he was by himself. He said he "gets anxious" because his son had died and that he had been seeing a counselor. He also told authorities he went into the girls' locker room to look for a scale used to weigh competitors in wrestling matches. There are two girls on his wrestling team.
It remains to be seen if that excuse will pass muster in a courtroom. For now, a town that has always derived pride from a deep wrestling heritage remains stunned that a pillar of the community may have been involved in something so sinister.
"I'm really concerned, and I know my wife would be," Wayne Stanuchenski, whose daughter Danielle is a North Andover freshman, told the Globe.