A prominent water polo coach from Orange County, Calif. was found guilty of sexually assaulting 10 teen girls during training sessions — while unsuspecting parents were poolside.

Prosecutors said Bahram Hojreh, of Irvine, molested the teen girls and “touched their breasts, twisted their nipples, touched their genitals above and below their swimsuits and digitally penetrated them underwater during coaching sessions.”

The disgraced coach would tell the young women what he was doing was necessary to “toughen them up for competition,” prosecutors said.

After a five-week trial, a jury on Wednesday found Hojreh, 46, guilty of 22 felony counts, including sexual battery, sexual penetration and lewd acts on a child.

The water polo players were between the ages of 13 to 17 years old at the time of the incidents, from 2012 to 2017, prosecutors said. The jury also found him guilty of simple assault in connection to one of the Jane Does.

Bahram Hojreh coaches youngsters at the USA Water Polo National Training Center in Los Alamitos, Calif. on Sept. 23, 2013.
Bahram Hojreh coaches youngsters at the USA Water Polo National Training Center in Los Alamitos, Calif. on Sept. 23, 2013.
AP

Hojreh testified in his own defense and denied the allegations. The disgraced former coach said his former athletes were part of a “conspiracy” against him. His defense attorney, John Barnett, accused the young women of lying, according to the Orange County Register.

Hojreh coached the International Water Polo Club in Los Alamitos, Calif. and also coached at Kennedy High School in La Palma. The assaults occurred during pool training sessions at the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos, prosecutors said.

Parents who attended the training sessions were unaware the perverted coach was sexually assaulting their daughters just feet away.

Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos, Calif.
Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos, Calif.
NCAA Photos via Getty Images

“My heart breaks for each one of these victims and for their parents who did everything they could to help their children achieve their athletic dreams and instead had to learn the painful truth, that their daughters had been molested right in front of them – and there was nothing they could do to protect them,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said.

“Thankfully, these brave girls had the courage to speak up about the abuse and prevented additional girls from being molested.”

The young women started to confide in each other in 2017 but decided to tell the parents about a year later. The families promptly reported the assaults to police.

Hojreh trained more than 100 All Americans and led at least 10 teams to the national champions during his career. He is now banned for life from participating in events affiliated with USA Water Polo, according to the Orange County Register.

Hojreh, who was out on bail during the trial, was immediately taken into custody following Wednesday’s verdict. He is being held without bail until he is sentenced on January 12.



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