FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A jury has found a former South Florida swim coach accused of sexually assaulting three young girls in 2015 guilty of all charges, Thursday night.
The verdict brought 29-year-old Francisco De Aragon’s four-trial to an end.
At first, the defendant showed little emotion, but as the verdict came back guilty on each of five counts of lewd and lascivious molestation, he broke down in tears.
One of the charges carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
De Aragon was accused of inappropriately touching three girls at the Deerfield Beach Aquatic Center while he was giving them swim lessons in 2015. The girls were only 6 years old at the time.
Earlier on Thursday, prosecutors and defense attorneys delivered closing arguments at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale.
While on the stand, De Aragon denied the charges against him.
“I would never, ever, in a million years, molest a child,” De Aragon said.
De Aragon said he may have accidentally brushed the girls while teaching them to swim. He demonstrated how he interacted with the girls while in the pool with them.
“It’s very well possible that, when I’m pushing them back to the wall, and I’m pushing them back, there could have been accidental contact,” said De Aragon.
Two of the girls testified earlier this week that he put his hand inside their bathing suits.
When asked what part of his body De Aragon used to touch her privates, one of the girls said, “His whole hand.”
The prosecutor then asked the girl whether he put his hand under or over her bathing suit. The minor replied “under.”
7News cameras captured De Aragon’s wife of two years rushing from the courtroom, followed by his devastated family. As prosecutors spoke on behalf of the victims’ families, the defendant’s wife could still be heard crying.
“Well, it’s hard, but you know, little kids are very resilient … and they’re doing OK,” said prosecutor Stacey Honowitz. “They came into court. They said what they had to say, and it was difficult because he was sitting in the courtroom, but they seem to, thank God, be doing OK.”
The mothers of the girls who were allegedly targeted by De Aragon left without making any comment.
De Aragon’s attorneys have confirmed they plan to appeal the verdict.
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