A Deerfield swim instructor was sentenced to life behind bars on Friday for molesting three six-year-old girls.
Francisco Xavier de Aragon II, 28, denied the claims made by the three young students that he groped them under their bathing costumes during lessons.
But his pleas failed to move the judge, who handed down the maximum sentence available: Four consecutive life sentences, ABC Local 10 reported.
Sentenced: Francisco Xavier de Aragon II (pictured) was sentenced to four life sentences on Friday for molesting three of his six-year-old swimming students in Deerfield, Florida
De Aragon had been found guilty on May 18 of all counts against him, including one count of sexual battery on a child, three counts of lewd and lascivious molestation, and one count of battery.
The incidents had occurred at a swim class in Deerfield Beach Aquatics Center in 2015.
All three of the victims came forward to speak in court, with one of them saying: ‘The lifeguard touched my private part.’
The disgraced lifeguard denied the claims throughout, saying that there may have been ‘accidental contact’ when he was teaching them how to float, and that they may have misinterpreted that.
He said he spent less than a minute holding the girls up so they could float on their stomachs, describing the process as being ‘too fast for anything like that,’ and ‘like a conveyor belt.’
But prosecutor Patyl Oflazian dismissed claims that the abuse was inadvertently caused by his teaching technique.
‘I don’t understand, in what swimming technique has it ever been taught that your hand would go inside of a child’s bathing suit bottom, and that your finger would then penetrate that child’s vagina,’ she told jurors.
She commended the victims’ bravery in court after the sentence was handed down, 7 News Miami reported.
‘We’re very proud of the victims who came forward and testified in the trial,’ she said.
De Aragon touched the girls inside their swimsuits and digitally penetrated at least one of them here, at the Deerfield Beach Aquatics Center. He denied all of the charges
‘This is a case that came down to what those three girls testified to versus the defendant’s testimony.
‘Not only was it a fair sentence, it was a sentence that supported the evidence in the case and was required.’
The prosecutor said she was ‘very proud’ of the three girls, who gave testimony against De Aragon in court
De Aragon cried as the sentence was passed, and mouthed ‘I love you’ to his wife.
His mother, Phoebe, who is also a swim instructor, believed that the girls fabricated the story to get out of swimming lessons.
‘We’re going to fight because he’s innocent, and what they’re describing did not happen,’ she added.
His wife also stood by him after he was sentenced. ‘It was his pride and joy to know that saving somebody and being able to properly train them,’ she said.
Oflazian said they were delusional.
‘When someone’s in denial, they will continue to proclaim their innocence,’ she said.
De Aragorn had previously turned down a plea deal that would have seen him getting 25 years in prison.