A Laguna Hills swim coach–a husband and father already sentenced once in recent years to 16 months behind bars for molesting a 15-year-old student–was sentenced today to another 16 months in prison for molesting a second 15-year-old girl.
Todd Robert Sousa, who co-owned Swim Venture Inc. with his wife–the daughter of former Laguna Hills Mayor Joel Lautenschleger–could have been sent to prison for three years by Orange County Superior Court Judge Andre Manssourian.
But, according to City News Service courtroom reporter Paul Anderson, Manssourian acknowledged Sousa's participation in rehabilitation programs during his first stint in prison and the presence at sentencing of the repeat molester's wife, father and father-in-law to show support.
Also in court to read a victim impact statement was the first victim's father, a veteran Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy, who told the judge he doubts Sousa has been rehabilitated. (The most recent case against the coach included new counts tied to crimes against the first victim, explained Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Walker.)
“I've arrested hundreds of Todd Sousas,” the father said. “… Mr. Sousa is a child molester and a monster. He tries to make others remorseful for his own sick, twisted actions. … I will never forgive myself for not seeing the signs and preventing this from happening to
The victim's mother, who at one point had to stop reading her statement because she could not see through her tears, asked the judge, “How do you pick up the pieces when someone you know and respected sexually assaults your daughter?”
She continued: “Todd Sousa is a very good liar and manipulator,” who stole her daughter's “innocence,” which has been “replaced by anxiety. My daughter has shut down and has stopped seeing her therapist. She has not come to terms with what happened.”
Judge Manssourian did have harsh words for Sousa, according to Anderson's report, calling his crimes “very predatory” and angrily recalling how Sousa had the parents of two girls drop them off at Disneyland before their coach took them to a motel for sex.
“Think of the irony of that,” Manssourian said. “And then to greet them with sex toys?”
The judge also noted the “irony” in the parents having paid Sousa to be their girls' swim coach.
“They are literally paying you for what you did to them,” said Manssourian, who added the “violation of trust” was a “major factor” in the sentence he handed down.
Under a deal with Judge Robert Fitzgerald, Sousa pleaded guilty on Oct. 28, 2011, to 13 counts of lewd acts on a child and three counts of unlawful sex–all felonies–and two misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor for the crimes against the first 15-year-old girl. Besides the 16-month term–Sousa was released early on July 1, 2012–he was ordered to register as a sex offender for life.
Sousa was arrested again a month after he was kicked free when the new crimes from September 2009 were referenced in the second girl's diary, which her parents had discovered, according to Walker. Sousa pleaded guilty in June to six counts of lewd acts on a child age 14 or 15 and one count of unlawful sex, all felonies.