FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – It was sentencing day for a Broward County swim instructor convicted of molesting three young girls he was teaching.
Francisco De Aragon, 28, maintained his innocence during the trial and he still claimed he didn’t do it during his sentencing Friday.
Despite pleas from his parents and wife, the judge gave De Aragon three more life sentences. De Aragon was already sentenced to a mandatory life sentence for one of the convictions – sexual battery on a child.
Recently, CBS4’s Joan Murray met with Aragon at the Broward County Jail. He spoke at length about the charges, his family, and his believe of his innocence.
“I’ve never had an issue, passed every background check that you could imagine. I’ve been a USA swimming coach for almost up until 2015, almost 10 years and I’ve had great, great recommendations and never had an issue,” said De Aragon.
Despite long odds, De Aragon holds out hope his convictions will be overturned.
“I still can’t understand why I am being accused of this,” said De Aragon. “This is not me. There is no justice in this sentence, in putting a life sentence on a man who is innocent.”
De Aragon, was charged with sexually assaulting the girls while he was teaching them at the Deerfield Beach Aquatics Center in 2015.
He says he was with the girls under a minute teaching them to float on their stomachs.
“I am not a small man by no means, over 300 pounds. I have large hands. What they are saying would be literally, would hurt them physically,” said De Aragon. “There’s not enough time to do that when you are positioning a child to go back to the wall. It’s like a conveyor belt of kids.”
He went on, “The only thing I’ve ever done was do my job.”
Last month, a jury found De Aragon guilty on all five counts leveled against him.
During the trial, each of the girls, who were 6 years old at the time, testified that De Aragon groped them under their swimsuits during the lesson.
When De Aragon took the stand during his trial, he emphasized that he was innocent of all the charges.
“I would never in a million years molest a child,” de Aragon said during his trial.
The girls were driven from their school to the aquatics center. One girl testified she didn’t tell anyone at the aquatics center because she says she was scared.
De Aragon told the jury that he has been in aquatics all his life and has been a competitive swimmer, a lifeguard and water safety instructor.
He testified it was possible there was “accidental contact” with the three girls and implied they misinterpreted his actions when he was teaching them how to float in the water.
Before the start of the trial, de Aragon turned down a plea deal that would have sent him to prison for 25 years.
De Aragon was found guilty of count of capital sexual battery, three counts of lewd and lascivious acts and one count of battery. The first charge carries an automatic sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The girls’ families didn’t comment following the verdict but prosecutors applauded the decision of the four men and two women jury.
De Aragon’s defense attorney said he plans to appeal.