Swim teacher pleads not guilty to sexual assault

NEWPORT BEACH — A swim instructor from Irvine pleaded not guilty Friday to sexually assaulting a 15-year-old between April and February.

Todd Robert Sousa, 36, is charged with 13 counts of felony lewd acts on a child, three counts of unlawful sexual intercourse and two misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Prosecutors said he had sex with the girl in his office, an equipment closet and his car. He met her while working as her swim instructor. Sousa was part owner and an instructor of Swim Ventures, a Laguna Hills-based swim school operating around Orange County.

According to the Orange County district attorney's office, Sousa escalated the unlawful contact between April 1, 2010, and Feb. 18. The charges range from kissing to intercourse.

Most recently, Sousa is accused of picking up the girl and her friend from the Irvine Spectrum, driving them to the Swim Ventures office, providing them both with alcohol and taking the girl into another room to have sex with her while her friend waited outside.

According to prosecutors, one of the girl's friends found out and told a parent, who then told the girl's parents. They contacted police.

According to his legal counsel, Sousa has no prior record except for traffic tickets, lives with his parents and is not a flight risk.

As a condition of his $100,000 bail, the judge ordered Sousa have no contact with any female minors between the ages of 14 and 18, excluding family members.

Sousa's pretrial is scheduled for May 13, with a preliminary hearing June 10.

Sousa faces up to 13 years in prison if convicted.

—Staff writer Joseph Serna contributed to this report.

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