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Son of Cleveland kidnapper describes horror he felt at father's crimes

Ariel Castro, 53, sits in the courtroom during his sentencing for kidnapping, rape and murder in Cleveland, Ohio in this August 1, 2013. (Reuters file)
Ariel Castro, 53, sits in the courtroom during his sentencing for kidnapping, rape and murder in Cleveland, Ohio in this August 1, 2013. (Reuters file)

By Chris Francescani

New York (Reuters) - The son of Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro has described in detail for the first time the horror that overwhelmed him after 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 wrote. "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 and the dungeon where he kept the women for years was revealed, 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."

Castro describes being followed by the press.

"I had reporters, in revoltingly poor taste, seeking me out for a knee-jerk reaction, wanting to know the whereabouts of my father's remains, waiting for me outside the Franklin County coroner's office," he wrote.

"I just wanted to get through those horrible days without NewsChannel 5 breathing down my neck."

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."

(Reporting By Chris Francescani, editing by Elizabeth Piper)

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