NORWOOD, the Bronx (PIX11) — A mom thought she’d found the perfect location for day care/after school when she enrolled her son and daughter at Lina’s Garden on Decatur Avenue in the Bronx.

The center was close to Jessica Biel’s home, and her 10-year-old son was comfortable with the assistant in charge of his group, Silfredo Castillo Martinez. But last month, Castillo Martinez, 32, was arrested and charged with promoting child pornography. That’s when Biel learned Castillo Martinez’ name was on the license for the center, not his stepmother.

“She was the head, she was the face of the center,” Biel said. “Finding out he had things under his name, it was kind of scary.”

Biel contacted PIX11 News because she’s worried about what prosecutors will find when they finish poring over thousands of photos and videos allegedly recovered from Castillo Martinez’ computer. Police said they found at least 10 files, many of them showing boys having sex with men.

“As a parent, this is the scariest thing that you can ever go through,” Biel said as her voice broke.

Biel told PIX11 News the day care/after school was divided into two parts; babies and younger children were in the front section of the basement facility, while slightly older children–many of them boys–were in the back for the after-school activities.

“In the after school program, there were a lot of boys,” Biel said.  

Biel said her son was at Lina’s Garden for nearly four years, starting when he was 6 1/2 years old.  Her daughter, who is now 6, has been with the day care longer.

“My son loved him very much and trusted him,” the mother said of Castillo Martinez.

Biel is gently questioning her son to see if he was exploited.

“My son says, ‘No,’ so I don’t badger him,” Biel said.

PIX11 News visited the basement this week and met Pedro Roldan, the building’s porter, who said he witnessed Castillo Martinez getting arrested shortly after 5 a.m. on May 3.

“A lot of agents,” Roldan said, recalling the scene. 

Roldan mentioned the officers also had dogs during the arrest.

When the arrest was announced, the NYPD said it suspected Castillo Martinez may have been involved with the child porn since he began working at the center more than 10 years ago, in 2011.

Jamal Mohssen, who  manages a deli diagonally across the street from the day care, said he didn’t think Castillo Martinez was involved in bad stuff.

“I think he’s a good guy,” Mohssen told PIX11 News.  “He was friendly with everybody.”

PIX11 News reviewed documents showing Castillo Martinez was the registered operator of Lina’s Garden, which was listed as a group family day care. That meant Castillo Martinez could have children from the age of six weeks through 12 in his facility, with four, more school-aged children permitted to receive care. The city stipulates there must be one caregiver for every child under the age of two at the center.

Records indicate an inspector from the New York City Health Department visited Lina’s Garden on July 27, 2021 and found the only violation was for “peeling or damaged paint or plaster” that needed to be repaired. The records noted the condition was corrected.

Inspectors returned to Lina’s Garden the day after Castillo Martinez was arrested and suspended his license on May 5 this year, citing numerous violations.

When PIX11 News asked City Hall for a statement, we received this response: “The Health Department inspects home-based child care programs like this one on behalf of the State Office of Children and Family Services.  The state regulations require background checks–which had been conducted here–and our on-site inspections assess compliance with health and safety rules including requirements for supervision; providers certifications; child-to-staff ratio; as well as mandates relating to facility issues, such as presence of window guards and lack of peeling paint.  Programs receive at least one inspection per year, more if deficiencies are found by our inspectors.  The Department immediately followed the state’s direction to suspend this program in May following notice of this arrest.”

Castillo Martinez pleaded not guilty in the case, even though the criminal complaint said he admitted to police that he downloaded child porn from a chat room called Telegram.

He remains on Rikers Island, unable to make $100,000 cash bail at this point. At a court hearing Thursday in the Bronx, the prosecutor in the case said publicly they’ve identified at least one boy who was attending Lina’s World who was in a porn video. The Bronx District Attorney’s Office and NYPD have released Castillo Martinez’ photo, hoping other potential victims will speak up.

Since Lina’s World was closed on May 5, Jessica Biel said she’s had to leave work early in Manhattan to pick her children up from their Bronx school at 2:35 p.m.

“As a parent, I have to work,” Biel said.  “I’m a mom that has to work. I don’t have the luxury of staying home.”