CORAL SPRINGS (CBSMiami) – A Broward jury has paused deliberations on the fate of a former school custodian accused of sexually abusing a Coral Springs Middle School student.
The student, who was 15 at the time, alleges Robert Grant, his mentor and coach, fondled him numerous times, eventually ending with Grant performing a sex act on him at the school gym on a Saturday evening.
Other teens testified the he touched them as well.
“How many times did it happen like that?” the attorney asked.
“I’m not sure how many times, but every time he stretched me,” the teen replied.
“Every time he stretched you one on one?” the attorney followed up.
“Yes,” the teen said.
Prosecutors allege Grant groomed the victim for months, getting him to trust and depend on him before the molestation began.
“He says this happens at least once in June 2017, at least once in the month of July 2017, and at least once in August 2017,” said Prosecutor Kerrie Harper. “Estimated it happened that way at least 10 times.”
Grant took the stand during the trial. He denied the allegations. He also denied it 17 times while he was interrogated by police, and on a recorded phone call set up by investigators.
Grant also wrote a letter to the judge where he professed his innocence. Grant wrote, “I feel that I should not be locked away for something I did not do” adding that “I would never do anything to jeopardize my career or my position of coaching.”
Court records show that Grant does face molestation charges in several other cases involving minors.
Grant’s attorney told jurors this case lacks evidence – that all they have to go on is the teen’s word.
“Too many red flags in this case, too many things in this case point to ‘it didn’t happen.’ Where’s the beef? Where’s the evidence?” said Defense Attorney Jim Lewis.
The jury ended deliberations around 7 p.m. on Wednesday after deliberating for about two hours. They plan to pick back up fresh on Thursday morning.
Grant is facing four counts of sexual battery and seven counts of lewd and lascivious molestation. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.