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Nicholas Piazza, 20, was sentenced to eight years in prison for molesting children at his mother's swim school in San Marcos. Screenshot/CBS8
Nicholas Piazza, 20, was sentenced to eight years in prison for molesting children at his mother's swim school in San Marcos. Screenshot/CBS8
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Former swim teacher sentenced to 8 years for child sex abuse

VISTA — A former North County swim instructor was sentenced to eight years in prison in Vista Superior Court on Wednesday for felony and misdemeanor child molestation charges.

Nicholas Piazza, 20, received his sentence from Judge Brad Weinreb in the presence of attorneys and the family of one of his victims, who spoke emotionally about the harm caused to their son and family. 

Piazza initially faced three felony charges for allegedly abusing three boys from 2021 to 2022 while employed at Callan Swim School in San Marcos and working as a private swim instructor.

While the case was set to go to trial this year, a plea deal was reached in August, imposing a sentence of eight years in exchange for Piazza pleading guilty to one felony count of lewd and lascivious acts against a minor under 14 and two misdemeanor counts of annoying or molesting a child.

At the Wednesday sentencing hearing, Weinreb said Piazza will also be required to register as a sex offender and is prohibited from contacting any victims. 

Deputy District Attorney Isaac Jackson, who prosecuted the case, said he believes the sentence was fitting based on the charges but knows it is nowhere near enough for the victims and their families. 

“It’s always difficult when you have a case like this. There will never be a prison sentence that can truly address what happened to these victims,” Jackson said. “This case was particularly egregious because he usurped a position of trust.”

Piazza’s defense attorney, Andrew Limberg, declined to comment on the sentencing. 

Piazza was first arrested in the summer of 2021 on suspicion of inappropriately touching a six-year-old boy during a swim lesson while working as an instructor at Callan Swim School in San Marcos. 

He was later released on bail and prohibited from working with children. However, he began working as a private swim instructor in North County during the summer of 2022 and would abuse two more boys, seven and five years old. 

Piazza was arrested again in the fall of 2022 and has since been held without bail.

The parents of one of the victims who had private lessons with Piazza provided impact statements on Wednesday. The Coast News does not include the boy’s or his parents’ names to protect their privacy. 

“Your actions they caused a lot of grief, a lot of stress and a lot of unresolved heartache. It’s outrageous to know you got released from jail the first time, you violated your bail conditions, and you were right back at it. Bottom line, Nick, you caused a great deal of trauma to these little kids,” said the boy’s father. “I’m glad you’re being held accountable for your actions.”

The sentencing concludes a second court case resulting from Piazza’s abuse. Earlier this year, Callan Swim School reached a $40,000 settlement with a parent whose son was abused by Piazza while he was employed there. 

Piazza worked at Callan Swim School from around the fall of 2020 until early fall of 2021. According to former school employees, his mother, Larissa Oden, served as the pool manager until last fall. 

When he was arrested for the first instance of abuse in August of 2021 and later released, sheriff’s deputies said they advised school management not to allow Piazza back to teach swim lessons.

However, deputies noted in court documents that he was back in the pool shortly afterward. Parents and former coworkers told The Coast News that they were given excuses for Piazza’s brief absence and his eventual departure from the school that fall. 

Under the terms of his bail, Piazza was explicitly prohibited from working around or being alone with children. However, parents at Callan did not know this, and some whose kids were taught by Piazza at Callan said he continued to reach out and offer private swim lessons. 

Parents and former coworkers eventually learned of his pattern of child abuse, including the incident at Callan in October of 2022 when he was arrested for abusing another child during private swim lessons in Rancho Santa Fe. 

For the latest crime reports in Encinitas, Solana Beach and Del Mar, please visit The Coast News’ Weekly Crime Reports. For up-to-the-minute arrest reports in North County, check out Daily Arrest Logs. Read more local crime news here.

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