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DEERFIELD BEACH (CBSMiami) – A day after a former swim teacher was convicted of molesting three 6-year-old girls, his family says the jury got it wrong.
“We know this guy, he didn’t do it,” Francisco de Aragon’s wife of five years told CBS4.
“When they said guilty, it was total devastation. I don’t see how they can find that,” said Savannah de Aragon who rushed out of the courtroom in tears Thursday night.
After a three-day trial and four hours of deliberations, a jury found de Aragon guilty of five criminal counts.
The jury believed the testimony of the three girls who testified that de Aragon had groped them under the bottom of their swimsuits while they were getting a swim lesson at the Deerfield Beach Aquatics Center in 2015.
The most serious conviction was sexual battery on a child, which carries a mandatory life prison sentence.
“This is a case where they got it wrong. An innocent man, who is trying to help people learn and save themselves, is now in prison for life. It isn’t right,” his father, Frank de Aragon, told CBS4.
Frank de Aragon says his son has taught hundreds of children to swim over many years and there has never been any problem. He can’t understand the current allegations.
“Perhaps the children felt something, but it wasn’t what they are saying. We are here to protect children that’s what we do,” he said.
Savannah de Aragon says she’s worried about her husband s safety since he is now labeled a sexual predator.
“Right now I’m scared and terrified he’s gonna get hurt in there. He doesn’t deserve it because he didn’t do it,” she said.
Savannah de Aragon says her husband rejected a plea deal that would have meant a 25-year prison term because he always believed he would be exonerated.
She says he told her, “Why am I going to plead guilty to something I did not do?”
Now she and de Aragon’s father say they will fight for his freedom.
“He kept saying ‘I love you’ and to take care of me. He cares about what happens to me and his family. He cares,” she said.