Teacher accused of attempting to meet 15-year-old pleads not guilty

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MIDDLETOWN -

An Orange County teacher accused of trying to meet up with a 15-year-old girl in New York City pleaded not guilty Thursday in court.

Middletown High School math teacher Jonathan Castell faced a judge in Wallkill Town Court on child endangerment charges. He is facing only a misdemeanor charge of attempting to endanger a child.

The 45-year-old was surrounded by friends and family as he arrived to court. Neither he nor his attorney would speak about the case.

MORE: Middletown teacher charged with trying to meet underage girl

Castell was arrested after he was caught on a now-viral video in Brooklyn allegedly trying to meet whom he thought would be a 15-year-old girl. Instead, he met an activist named Tony Blas, who runs the Facebook group “Team Loyalty Makes You Family.”

Since then, Castell has been suspended with pay from his job at Middletown High, where he reportedly teaches algebra to sophomores and juniors.

"You got a guy preying on a child and he's able to go home? There's a problem with the legal system," Blas says. He says the chatroom conversations he recorded between the math teacher and the 15-year-old should be enough evidence to throw Castell in jail.

According to Blas, the state Department of Education has requested the chat transcripts.

The Department of Education told News 12 it could not confirm or deny the investigation, but says it takes all allegations of misconduct against educators extremely seriously.

Castell is scheduled to appear again in court on Sept. 6.

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