Parents concerned over arrest of portrait studio owner

Parents concerned over portrait...

Parents of students at Crockett Elementary School have a lot of questions after finding out the owner of a portrait company was charged with kidnapping and sexual contact of a minor.

Carlos Castaneda, 49, was arrested last week and is accused of inappropriately touching a 12-year-old girl more than 10 times over the course of a year.

Castaneda is the owner of Forever Portraits.

The company provided services for the school earlier this year and many parents ABC-7 spoke with weren't even aware of his arrest but those who did know tell ABC-7 they are concerned.

Tuesday afternoon as parents picked up their kids from Crockett Elementary School some are still frustrated because Forever Portraits studio took class pictures of the students but never delivered them.

"It upsets me. We're never going to get those pictures back," said one parent.

The El Paso Independent School District sent out a letter to parents expressing disappointment and offered another company Life Touch to take class pictures --parents would have to arrange refunds with Forever Portraits on their own.

"I wanted to know where my son's pictures where and they are little memories that we are not going to get back," said another parent.

Two weeks ago Carlos Castaneda was arrested on one count of kidnapping and three counts of criminal sexual content of a minor.

Parents are concerned.

"What's he doing with the photos and where they are now?" asked one parent.

EPISD sent ABC-7 this statement Tuesday.

"Forever Portraits has been shut down from the EPISD system of vendors and will not be allowed to re-bid to qualify for future projects." It added that Forever Portraits had been doing business with parents at Crockett Elementary School only."

Some parents called for better vetting of businesses that come in contact with children.

"The district is aware of the legal problems impacting the owner of the company," the district said in the statement.

"As is the case with any third-party vendors or visitors to our schools, individuals who are not employees of the school district are never allowed to be in contact with students without the presence of an EPISD employee."

Other parents don't believe the district is at fault. 

"I think the district did what they do every year, where they hire a company to take pictures of our beautiful kids," said one parent.

The district has managed to get the pictures delivered from forever portraits. ABC-7 called their studios to get a comment and they never answered.

ABC-7 called the new company that was hired, Lifetouch portrait studios, and they confirmed they do run fingerprints and backround checks on employees that come in contact with students.

comments powered by Disqus