Category: Instructor

Raul Albites Horowitz Law

Broward County Cheer Coach Raul Albites Arrested For Sexual Misconduct With 14-Year-Old Girl

On April 19, 2022, the US Marshal Service arrested a Broward County cheerleading coach for sexual misconduct with his then 14-year-old student. Raul Albites, age 39, was an employee and coach at Broward Elite All-Stars gym in Davie, Florida. Albites met the girl when she began cheerleading training at Broward Elite at age 11. According to media reports, Albites and the teen initially had private coaching sessions.  The close mentoring relationship changed when Raul Albites began sending the minor inappropriate, sexually-charged text messages and then progressed to unlawful sexual abuse. Albites’ misconduct led the girl to believe she was in a romantic relationship with her coach.

According to law enforcement records, in August 2020, the victim’s mother witnessed Albites embracing and kissing her daughter behind the gym near a trash dumpster. When the mother confronted Albites, he claimed it was a misunderstanding and just a friendly kiss on the cheek. She also noticed inappropriate daily texting and FaceTiming with her daughter even when not at the gym. The mother later looked through her daughter’s cellphone and discovered texts between her daughter and Albites that said he loved her and “that he would leave his wife when she turned 18, so they could get married.” Albites also wrote, “I sleep and dream of you … and I am committed to what we are doing.” Albites clearly knew he was in the wrong, as texts showed him writing, “I have everything to lose to be with you.” 

Reports state that the now 16-year-old teenager confessed to prosecutors that Albites attempted to “digitally penetrate her vagina” and touched her breasts and buttocks. She stated she was too scared to come forward for two years.

Albites was charged with enticement of a minor and is currently in the Broward County Jail. According to court documents, the Judge found “clear and convincing evidence that Albites presents a danger to the community and that there are no conditions or combination of conditions that will reasonably assure the safety of others and the community if Albites is released before trial.” Albites faces a possible mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum sentence of up to life in prison.

Broward Elite All-Stars has permanently closed since COVID-19, but another student told reporters that she “always felt something was just not right with him.” Another former coach at Broward Elite stated, “I don’t even know if I can put it into words. To me, it’s just absolutely horrifying and disgusting.” She also noted that the gym took the safety and security of its students very seriously. She said the gym had two cameras in the gym and in the back office and that background checks were required. She thinks there could be more victims. 

It should be expected that any institutions in which children learn and develop skills offer an environment in which they are safe from predatory sexual abuse. Athletic coaches are entrusted to facilitate learning and support the educational and training needs of their players. Anyone who sexually violates children has no place working in community or school athletic programs. Any organization in which such a crime is committed must take responsibility for failing to properly screen potential coaches and protect their players. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing survivors of sexual abuse. We have handled multiple cases of sexual abuse by authority figures in schools. If you or a loved one was sexually abused, assaulted, raped, or molested by a coach, principal, teacher, or other school employees, contact our law firm at (888) 283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com for a free consultation.

Vigiland D'Haiti Horowitz Law

Orlando Cheerleading Coach Vigiland D’Haiti Arrested for Allegedly Molesting Multiple Teens

On Sunday, March 27, 2022, Vigiland D’Haiti, an Orlando-area cheerleading coach and high school choreographer, was arrested at his Winter Garden home on multiple counts of lewd and lascivious molestation of victims ages 12 to 15. According to news reports, a warrant was issued on D’Haiti in Lake County for allegedly molesting several teens at World Cheer Center, Home of the Rush AllStars, located at 345 Hatteras Ave, Clermont, FL, for almost a decade. The body camera footage shows officers cuffing him, but D’Haiti begged officers to cuff him with his hands in front. 

In January 2022, the Clermont Police Department received several reports claiming that D’Haiti had sexually inappropriate contact with at least three children aged 14 and 15 between 2013-2021. According to the arrest affidavit, there has been an ongoing investigation on D’Haiti for over four months regarding him inappropriately touching his students. The report states D’Haiti would touch the girls’ hips and butts when he hugged them. Detectives found evidence that he also communicated to his students on Snapchat (Vig79) and Facebook. The report says that Vigiland D’Haiti would Snapchat the girls and say things like ‘you don’t love me?’ “I love you, I miss you,” and “you’re my favorite.” One of the alleged victims reported that he would make her sit on his lap to feel his erection. 

During the investigation, the Clermont Police Department reached out to DCF (Department of Children & Families) and learned there had been two potential victims who reported inappropriate behavior by D’Haiti in 2020. They also found another arrest on D’Haiti for alleged sexual misconduct, but that case was closed.

The Clermont Police released a statement by Sergeant Erin Razo stating, “The detectives have worked very diligently on this. We immediately contacted the USASF (United States All-Star Federation), and D’Haiti was immediately suspended, so he has not been able to work in his gym that he owns, here in the city.” Police also said the national cheer organization sent letters to parents of cheerleaders to let them know about the allegations.

One of the student’s parents commented, “I think it’s every parent’s worst nightmare really. It’s becoming commonplace, and it’s something very alarming.”

Vigiland D’Haiti, 39, is the co-owner of World Cheer Center, Home of the Rush AllStars.  This Clermont gymnastics facility teaches children ages 3 to 18 years old. According to Rush AllStars website, Vigiland D’Haiti, or “Coach Vig” as the students called him, has been involved in cheerleading for 20 years. 

D’Haiti is also a Popwarner Nationals Judge, high school choreographer, and head all-star coach for the Rush Allstars. D’Haiti was hired in 2005 at Cypress Creek High School in Orange County as a computer tech teacher and cheer coach. He also was with Lake County Schools a couple of times, most recently at Dr. Phillips High Schoo and at East Ridge High School from 2016 to 2019. In January, he was placed on leave and is under investigation by the district’s Office of Professional Standards.

D’Haiti has been released on a $30,000 bond, pending investigation and trial.

UPDATE: As of July 2022, Virgiland D’Haiti is now facing federal child pornography charges involving an allegation that he demanded nude photos from a underage girl who considered the coach a “second father,” sent her “dick pics” via Snapchat, and possessed sexually explicit photos and videos of “young girls [in] varying states of undress.”   After state charges were brought, law enforcement seized D’Haiti’s cellphone and then Clermont detectives got a search warrant to forensically analyze the device. On it, investigators discovered an app, Private Photo Vault, that protects chosen files in a password-protected folder—in this instance, D’Haiti’s date of birth. Once inside, investigators found “multiple nude photographs of a female subject who appeared to be a juvenile,” according to the complaint. In a screenshot of a video chat with one of the girls, D’Haiti can be seen shirtless in the top corner, it says. Although investigators said all seven pictures were sexual in nature, investigators said only one—an explicit video apparently recorded on a bathroom floor—met the legal definition of child pornography.  When police looked through the contacts on D’Haiti’s device, they say they matched the alleged victim in the offending pictures and videos with the phone number of a 16-year-old girl.  On May 9, the teenage girl sat for an interview with detectives from the Clermont PD and admitted she “had sent D’Haiti nude videos and photographs of herself, at D’Haiti’s demand, using Snapchat,” the complaint states, adding that the teen said D’Haiti sent “what she described as ‘dick pics’” on “at least 3 or 4” occasions.

It is expected that any institutions in which children learn and develop skills offer an environment in which they are safe from violence, bullying, harassment, and sexual abuse. Athletic coaches are entrusted to facilitate learning and support the educational and training needs of their players. Anyone who sexually violates children has no place working in community or school athletic programs. Any organization in which such a crime is committed must take responsibility for failing to properly screen potential coaches and protect their players. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing survivors of sexual abuse. We have handled multiple cases of sexual abuse by authority figures in schools. If you or a loved one was sexually abused, assaulted, raped, or molested by a coach, principal, teacher, or other school employees, contact our law firm at (888) 283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com for a free consultation.

Robert Franco Horowitz Law

Pembroke Pines Taekwondo Instructor Robert Franco Arrested For Hidden Cameras in Bathroom

On Friday, August 6, 2021, Robert Franco, a martial arts instructor in Pembroke Pines, surrendered himself to the Broward County Jail after a warrant was issued for his arrest. According to Pembroke Pines police, Robert Franco, ago 64, allegedly placed hidden cameras in the restroom of his academy, Master Franco’s Taekwondo Academy, located at 11090 Pines Boulevard.

Investigators reported that on July 29th, 2021, a 17-year-old female student of Franco’s noticed two hidden cameras inside of picture frames on a shelf in the bathroom of his Taekwondo academy. The student took pictures of the hidden cameras and then confronted Robert Franco, who then destroyed the picture frames and hidden cameras. The student then called her father and told him what happened. He quickly came to the academy and called 911.

Authorities arrived within the hour and began their investigation against Franco, searching through a seized phone and computer. Police said the content they have obtained thus far included video of children and adults. Authorities believe the cameras had been in the restroom since March when Franco took over the academy. 

According to the Local 10 News report, Franco gave an explanation for having the cameras, but police said that explanation was not reasonable. The Pembroke Pines police ask anyone who attended or visited, or whose children attended or visited, Master Franco’s Taekwondo Academy and used the restroom to come forward.

“The cameras were certainly positioned in such a fashion that not only was the level of trust violated but so too was their level of privacy,” said Adam Feiner with the Pembroke Pines Police Department. He also added that the police department fully anticipates more victims to come forward and need the communities to help to do so.”

Franco is facing multiple charges of video voyeurism and was charged with tampering or fabricating physical evidence. Franco’s bond was set at $20,000.

Our attorneys are experienced in representing victims of child sexual abuse in civil lawsuits. If you or someone you know was a victim of child sexual abuse, please contact our law firm at (888) 283-9922 or send an email to sexual abuse attorney Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com.