A former assistant basketball coach charged two years ago with fondling boys at Hialeah Gardens High School and Mater Academy has pleaded no contest to two counts of felony battery.
On Monday, Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Milton Hirsch sentenced Javier Alejandro Cuenca, 35, to two years of probation.
The six-foot-five, 240-pound Cuenca received a negotiated sentence “due to factors beyond the control of the State,” according to an Oct. 18 case disposition memo from the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.
“It was apparent that the defendant [Cuenca] used his position of trust as a basketball coach to fondle, leer at, and intimidate a number of teenaged boys,” the memo states.
Among the probation conditions, Cuenca must attend monthly mental health counseling, have no contact with the four victims or do any activity that puts him in a position of authority over minors. He must also make a $1,000 contribution to a crime victim’s fund.
Cuenca did not return emails from the Miami Herald seeking comment.
In 2014, the Herald reported that Cuenca was arrested and charged with two counts each of lewd and lascivious conduct and one count of lewd and lascivious molestation.
Victim 1, age 15, said that when he was a student at Hialeah Gardens Senior High, Cuenca told him “to drop his shorts, so he could look at his penis,” court records show. Cuenca said he wanted to make sure the teen was “focused on school and basketball, and not on girls,” according to the memo.
Victim 2, age 13, said that during his seventh- and eighth-grade years, when Cuenca was his math teacher at Mater Academy, the coach “checked” him to see if he was “ready” for steroids. Checking involved “touching and looking at his genitals,” according to the close-out memo.
Victim 3, age 15, described how Cuenca offered him “a steroid called Anvar, and would check his penis/testicles by touching his private parts,” states the memo. And Victim 4, also 15, said Cuenca asked him “on several occasions to expose his penis” to see if he had a “virgin line.”
The four cases were consolidated into one, according to Ed Griffith, a spokesman for the State Attorney’s Office. Cuenca pleaded no contest to two of the boys’ allegations; the other charges were dismissed.
Though there appeared to be a pattern of abuse which occurred to “at least six victims,” each victim’s case would have to be tried individually. Prosecutors say they feared juries would find Cuenca not guilty.
Cuenca is eligible for his two-year probation to end early, on June 17. Once he successfully completes probation, he could also be eligible to have the four cases sealed from his record, according to the State Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors told Cuenca, however, that the State Attorney’s Office will “vigorously oppose any motions to seal this case from his criminal record.”
If Cuenca violates his probation, he faces up to 10 years in prison.