A famous high school water polo coach in california was found guilty of sexually assaulting nine teenage girls during training sessions, all while their unsuspecting parents sat by the pool.
On Wednesday, a jury found Irvine resident Bahram Hojreh guilty of 22 felony counts after a five-week trial, including sexual assault, sexual penetration and lewd conduct against a child. The jury also found him guilty of simple assault in relation to one of the unnamed victims, Orange County Registration report.
Famous water polo coach found guilty of 22 felonies after a 5-week trial
Prosecutors said the 46-year-old man “touched their breasts, twisted their nipples, touched their genitals above and below their swimsuits and digitally penetrated them. them in the water during training sessions.”
According to prosecutors, the disgraced coach told the young girls all this was necessary to “help them toughen up the competition”.
The victims were between the ages of 13 and 17 at the time of the incident, which occurred between 2012 and 2017.
Hojreh denied the allegations while testifying in his own defense, alleging that his former athletes were part of a “conspiracy” against him.
John Barnett, Hojreh’s defense attorney, even went so far as to accuse young women of lying, Orange County Registration report.
The parents by the pool had absolutely no idea when the sexual abuse took place just a few feet away
Coach has led the International Water polo Club in Los Alamitos, California, and is also a coach at Kennedy High School in La Palma.
The alleged sexual assaults took place during training sessions at a pool located at the Combined Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos.
The victims’ parents, who had attended the training sessions, were completely unaware that Hojreh had sexually abused their daughter just a few feet away.
“My heart breaks for each of these victims and their parents, who have done everything they can to help their children achieve their sporting dreams and must instead know the heartbreaking truth, that their daughter they were sexually abused right in front of them – and there was nothing they could do to protect them,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer.
Spitzer went on to say that “thankfully, these brave girls have the courage to speak out about abuse and prevent other girls from being sexually abused.”
The decorated water polo coach was immediately detained following Wednesday’s guilty verdict
The outlet reported that the girls began confiding in each other about the abuse in 2017, however, parents were not notified until a year later.
Upon learning of the abuse, the family quickly reported it to the police.
Hojreh, who has coached more than 100 All Americans and led more than ten teams to the national championship, is currently banned for life from participating in events affiliated with USA Water polo, according to Orange County Registration.
He remained on bail throughout the trial, but was immediately taken into custody following Wednesday’s guilty verdict.
Hojreh is expected to be sentenced on January 12.