FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Students who accused a former swim instructor of sexual abuse spoke out in court.
In a Broward County courtroom, Tuesday afternoon, three victims said the defendant preyed on them during the same day and within the same hour.
The swim instructor, 28-year-old Francisco De Aragon, turned down a last-minute plea deal on Monday, which prompted Tuesday’s trial to begin.
De Aragon was initially offered 25 years, but now, if he is convicted, he faces life in prison.
The three girls testifying against the 28-year-old instructor spoke to the judge. According to prosecutors, the girls told their mothers De Aragon touched each of them inappropriately two years ago.
In their testimonies, the girls, now eight years old, could be heard describing how De Aragon used his whole hand to touch them under their bathing suits. De Aragon worked as a part-time Deerfield Beach swim instructor for two months before the allegations.
Barely discernible through a haze of tears, the mother of one of the girls spoke about her feelings upon discovering the assault. “I was like, ‘Thank you for telling me because it was the right thing,'” she said.
“On this particular day, the children are going to learn how to swim from one end of the pool to the other,” said prosecutor Patyl Oflazian during the opening argument. “Remember, they don’t know how to swim, so they need the defendant to help them while they’re in the pool. When each girl is taken into the pool by the defendant, under the guise of instructing them on how to swim, each girl is sexually assaulted.”
The victims were just 6 years old at the time of the alleged incident.
Prosecutors added that the girls did not know each other.
De Aragon was arrested on May 20, 2015 by police and charged with sexual assault and lewd and lascivious molestation. His trial resumes, Wednesday morning.
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