SAN DIEGO — A former North County swim instructor was sentenced to eight years behind bars for molesting three children under the age of 8 during lessons.

Nicholas Piazza, 20, pleaded guilty to one felony count of a lewd or lascivious act against a minor under the age of 14 and two misdemeanor counts of annoying or molesting a child in connection with incidents involving young boys between July 2021 and September 2022.

“Its always difficult whenever you have a crime like this,” Deputy District Attorney Isaac Jackson said during a press conference. “It’s hard to say how much tie is enough, certainly there will never  punishment there will never be a prison sentence that will truly address what happened to these victims.” 

According to prosecutors, the first incident in July 2021 involved an 8-year-old student at the Callan Swim School in San Marcos. Piazza was subsequently arrested, but later released on bail as he awaited trial. As a condition of his release, he was ordered not to work with children.

However, Piazza began offering private swim lessons, according to prosecutors. During that time, he molested two other children: a 5-year-old in June 2022 and a 7-year-old in September 2022.

“This case was particular egregious because he usurped a position of trust the feeling of safety in our community,” Jackson said. “Parents no longer have the safety of bringing their children to get swim lessons.”

“This defendant violated the trust placed in him by the parents of the victims in the worst way possible and caused harm and trauma to his victims with his lascivious crimes,” District Attorney Summer Stephan added. “Today a measure of justice was handed down for the victims, their families and the community affected by this disturbing crime.”

As a result of his plea, Piazza will be required to register as a sex offender.

The judge denied media requests during Wednesday’s sentencing, so FOX 5 could not capture video of Piazza’s face. The judge said the decision was out of the respect for one of the victim’s family, who decided to make victim impact statements before sentencing.

FOX 5 also reached out to Callan Swim School for comment on the case but did not immediately hear back.