Former Coral Springs middle school janitor guilty of sexual battery

Robert Grant, 29, found guilty on 10 counts

By John Hett - Digital Editor

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Robert Grant, 29, was found guilty Thursday on four counts of sexual battery and six counts of lewd and lascivious molestation.

Grant showed no emotion as the verdict was read.

The former Coral Springs Middle School janitor and football coach had been accused of sexually molesting a then-15-year-old victim at least 10 times.

It was an emotional trial with the victim taking the stand, accusing Grant of inappropriately touching him and performing oral sex on him. Four other victims testified with similar stories.

Testimony provided similar stories of how Grant, a flag football coach and mentor, would use stretching exercises to molest the then-middle schoolers. The primary victim in the case is the only one on whom Grant allegedly performed oral sex.

The defense maintained there was never any physical evidence, nor were there any witnesses to back up the allegations.

Grant testified Wednesday maintaining his innocence.

A Coral Springs detective also took the stand Wednesday, and told jurors that Grant was surprised by the initial accusation and maintained his innocence throughout a three-hour interview and a staged call with the victim.

Grant's defense attorney, James Lewis, had been trying to downplay the victims' testimony in Wednesday's closing arguments, citing a lack of physical evidence or fingerprints on the boy's body.

On day one of the trial, he also cross-examined the mother of the victim, attempting to discredit her and shaping a narrative in the case that this was a shakedown for money from the Broward County School Board.

"In the middle of the night, your kid tells you (Grant molested him), and you break out a phone and record him? That seems sketchy," Lewis stated.

The jury disagreed, charging Grant with four counts of sexual battery and six counts of lewd and lascivious molestation.

"The jury verdict was a little bit of a shock to us," Jim Lewis, Grant's attorney, said. "He loved those kids, he loved to try to help them with school work and athletics. He just can't believe that he is here."

The primary victim's family was in the courtroom, but didn't want to speak after the verdict was read, as relatives were too emotional.

Grant's attorney plans to appeal the verdict.

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