A well-known high school water polo coach in the California was accused of sexually assaulting nine teenage girls during the course, all while their unsuspecting parents were sitting by the pool.
On Wednesday, a jury found Bahram Hojreh, of Irvine, guilty of 22 counts after a five-week trial, including charges of sexual assault, sexual assault and child sexual abuse. The jury also found him guilty of assaulting one of the unnamed people, a Orange County Register reports.
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Prosecutors said the 46-year-old girl “touched their breasts, twisted their breasts, touched their genitals above and below their swimsuits and entered the water in the water during training.”
The disgraced coach allegedly told the girls that all of this was necessary to “motivate them to compete,” according to prosecutors.
The victims were aged between 13 and 17 at the time of the incidents, which took place between 2012 and 2017.
Hojreh denied the claims in his own defense, saying his former athletes were part of a “conspiracy” against him.
John Barnett, Hojreh’s attorney, went so far as to accuse the girls of lying, Orange County Register reports.
Poolside Parents Never Know When Sexual Abuse Happens Until It Gets Close
The coach directed the International Water Polo Club in Los Alamitos, California, and also coached at Kennedy High School in La Palma.
The attack reportedly took place during a training exercise at the pool at the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos.
The parents of the victims, who attended the training, had no idea when Hojreh was abusing their daughters nearby.
“My heart breaks for each of these victims and their parents who did everything they could to help their children achieve their racing dreams and instead learned the harsh truth, that their daughters were raped in front of them – and there was nothing they could have done to protect them.” ,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer.
Spitzer went on to say: “Fortunately, these brave girls had the courage to speak out about this abuse and prevent other girls from being raped.”
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The website says the girls began to share their feelings in 2017, but the parents were not informed until a year later.
When the families heard about the abuse, they immediately reported it to the police.
Hojreh, who coached more than 100 All-Americans and led more than a dozen teams to national championships, has now been banned for life from participating in activities related to USA Water Polo, according to Orange County Register.
He remained on bail during the trial, but was immediately arrested after Wednesday’s guilty plea.
Hojreh is scheduled to be sentenced on January 12.