The son of Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro has described in detail the overwhelming horror he felt when his father's crimes were revealed to the world.
"I'm still shell-shocked from the way these past several months unfolded," Ariel Anthony Castro wrote in an essay published late on Saturday in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
"Instantly, my father became one of the most hated men alive," he said. "In no time, reporters from around the world demanded to know who this man was and what kind of background he came from. Just like that, my father went from captured to convicted to imprisoned to dead."
His father pleaded guilty to 937 counts in July, including the hundreds of charge for the kidnapping, rape and assault of Michelle Knight, 32, Amanda Berry, 27, and Gina DeJesus, 23.
He committed suicide in prison earlier this month, while serving a sentence of life plus 1,000 years for the abduction, torture and confinement of the women over about a decade.
In the days after his victims escaped the dungeon where they had been kept for years, his son's home was ransacked, a profanity was scrawled on the door, and one documentary used his picture, lifted from his Facebook page, above the house where his father kept the women.
"They thought I was him and he was me," the younger Castro wrote. "That, however, was exactly what I wanted to scream from the rooftops. I am not my father and I can't explain his actions or be held accountable for something I never knew he was doing."
"I was horrified and disgusted and angered when I got the news of the unthinkable crimes my father committed," he said.
"I still am. He deserved to pay for his actions, everyday of those 1,000 years he could possibly serve. My anger with him kept me from visiting him in prison, even when he was moved to a facility just 20 minutes away from my doorstep."
Still, Castro said he does not hate his father.
"I learned long ago that it's not worth the effort to actively hate someone who will always be in your life."
Castro's mother died a year ago.
"Both of my parents are gone now, and my father's punishment is between he and his Maker. Hate isn't going to do anyone any good."
First published September 23 2013, 4:07 AM