Ariel Castro applied for a job as a Cleveland school bus driver more than 20 years ago because he enjoyed “working with children.”
He was fired in November, just six months before his arrest in connection with the disappearances of three young Cleveland women: Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight.
Berry and DeJesus both went missing as teenagers about a decade ago.
And while Castro was accused of domestic violence at least twice after he began working for the Cleveland school district, district records contain no mention of the accusations.
District records also show that Castro consented to a pre-employment criminal background check, but contain no mention of that check being completed.
We’ve asked the Cleveland school district about the domestic violence accusations and the background check but have not yet heard back from a district spokesperson.
The three women disappeared separately about a decade ago. They escaped Monday from Ariel Castro’s house on Cleveland’s near West side. Law enforcement officials told WKYC the women had been repeatedly raped and beaten.
Michelle Knight, who went missing at age 20, had attended one of the schools Ariel Castro’s bus route covered. It’s unclear if she knew him through the bus route.
Castro was hired by the Cleveland school district in in November 1991. In the following years, he faced at least two separate domestic violence charges:
- Castro was arrested in 1993 in connection with a domestic violence charge against his former wife. A grand jury declined to indict him, according to ABC News.
- And in 2005, the same woman filed a domestic violence petition against Castro, saying he severely beat her and repeatedly threatened to kill her and her two daughters, WKYC reported.
Castro made several mistakes on the job before being fired, according to district records. Castro was disciplined for making an illegal u-turn in rush-hour traffic; using the school bus to do his grocery shopping; and leaving a student with special needs alone on the bus while he ate lunch at a Wendy’s restaurant.
Castro also ignored a bloody fight among students on his bus, according to district records. He was never disciplined for that incident.
He was eventually fired for leaving his bus unattended in front of a school for four hours, blocking the school’s emergency lane.
And yet when Castro faced disciplinary action in 2009, the principal of one of the schools Castro drove for wrote a formal letter of support, saying “I have witnessed him trying to work with students, families and myself to handle student issues.”