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OFF LIMITS

Read it and sweep: For a guy who didn't get much attention when he started committing his crimes (Denver police even denied that a rapist was methodically working the Washington Park area), Theodor Castillo--along with his newfound friends and alter egos "big-p Paco" and "little-p Paco"--was certainly all over the place last week. On Thursday he peeked from the cover of the Rocky Mountain News as part of Ann Carnahan's "exclusive" report. The night before, he'd discussed his crimes even more exclusively with Channel 7's John Ferrugia. Although the KMGH series ran two more nights, outraged victims were already calling to complain that Castillo had been given so much as a second of air, much less prime sweeps time.

"It doesn't have anything to do with journalism," said one woman, Castillo's first official victim and a journalist herself. "It doesn't have anything to do with informing the public. It drove me nuts." The reviews weren't much better at the Denver District Attorney's office, which received its own calls from victims. Even a lawyer weighed in with a nasty opinion piece in Saturday's Denver Post--written before the last Channel 7 segment ran.

Ferrugia is writing a response to that, and has no problem defending his work. The first complaints, he says, "were all exactly the same--if you were raped by this guy, he shouldn't be on the TV at all." But after the second installment, which offered Castillo's helpful hints on how to avoid rape, women called to thank Channel 7 for the "valuable information." Friday's final segment put Castillo's crime in context, Ferrugia says, investigating whether rapists in prison get treatment--and when they're getting out. And, he adds, the series will spin off into a half-hour Crossroads show that will include one of Castillo's victims. None of this is much consolation to Victim No. 1, who was raped two days after she moved to Denver (thus disproving Castillo's contention that he would follow his quarries' patterns). "Nothing surprises me when it comes to sweeps," she says. "Ratings are everything."

Last call: Lower downtown keeps losing its landmarks. Already the possibility of prosperity nibbles away at the warehouse district near Coors Field. In December a fire ripped through the old Monarch Mill on Delgany, sending clouds of smoke and century-old flour into the Platte Valley and leaving just the original grain elevator standing. (Trillium Corp., owner of the property, may incorporate the historic structure in its plans.) The 16th Street Viaduct closed forever January 28. And Angelo Karagas, who had the lowdown on LoDo before it was even a glint in developers' eyes, passed on last Friday. In the early Seventies Karagas and his brother, Jim, opened My Brother's Bar at one end of the 15th Street Viaduct. A few years later they opened the Wazee Supper Club at the other, in a storefront that dated from 1874 and had once housed the Bon Ton Saloon. The Wazee--Angelo's province--soon became known (and still is) for its pizza, jazz and some of the best bathroom graffiti around: "Denver--kind of like a three-hour B movie." "We tried a suburban operation down south," Angelo said in 1984. "We learned something about ourselves: We're not that hardworking. Two bars are enough." We'll drink to that--and to Angelo.

 
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