SAIPAN — Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph Camacho has imposed $50,000 cash bail on Edmund Altares Castaneda, who is charged with one count of sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree, one count of sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree and one count of sexual abuse of a minor in the third degree.

Castaneda, 61, appeared in the custody of the Department of Corrections at his bail hearing. Judge Camacho, after finding the defendant eligible for a court-appointed attorney, appointed Assistant Public Defender Vina Seelam to represent Castaneda.

Assistant Attorney General Steve Kessel asked the judge to maintain the $50,000 bail.

Kessel said sexual assault in the first degree is punishable by up to 30 years imprisonment and a $50,000 fine; sexual assault in the second degree is punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine; and sexual assault in the third degree is punishable by up to two years imprisonment and a $2,000 fine.

After the hearing, Castaneda was remanded to the custody of DOC and was ordered to return to court at 10 a.m. Friday for a preliminary hearing and at 9 a.m. June 28 for arraignment.

According to the boy in question, Castaneda had been abusing him since he was 5 or 6 years old.

"He only goes to me. He only focuses on me," the boy told Division of Youth Services forensic investigators. "He mainly watches me and it makes me wish he never existed. I'm very scared and I want him to stop."

Castaneda told police he was "joking."

"I only kissed him on the lips because he is like a son to me," he told police.

Court documents state that Castaneda is a construction worker employed by the father-in-law of the boy's father.

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