A 72-year-old man who was convicted at trial of sexually assaulting a then 9-year-old girl on multiple occasions several years ago has been sentenced to 25 years in state prison for the crime, acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo announced Friday.
Plainfield resident Angel Flores must serve the full 25-year sentence before the possibility of parole under the terms set down Friday morning by Union County Superior Court Judge Lisa Miralles Walsh.
An investigation by the Special Victims Unit (“SVU”) of the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, led by Prosecutor’s Office Sgt. Brian O’Malley and assisted by the Plainfield Police Division, revealed that the sexual assaults took place from December 2015 to January 2016, in the building in which both Flores and the victim lived, according to SVU Supervisor Caroline Lawlor, who prosecuted the case. Flores would give the victim small quantities of cash, $5 to $10, before the assaults, Lawlor said.
Flores, an acquaintance of the victim’s family, and known as “Don Benito” to residents of the multi-family home on the 600 block of Central Avenue in Plainfield, was arrested just days after the final incident took place.
“This man her (the victim’s) family knew and trusted took her innocence away from her,” Lawlor said during Friday morning’s sentencing hearing.
The victim, now 13, testified during a two-week trial that concluded in May 2019, as did several relatives to whom she disclosed details about the trauma she endured. The jury convicted Flores on charges including first-degree aggravated sexual assault, second-degree sexual assault, and third-degree endangering the welfare of a child.
The conviction invoked the provisions of New Jersey’s Jessica Lunsford Act, a piece of legislation enacted in 2014 that introduced a mandatory minimum term of 25 years in state prison for any defendant convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a victim or victims under the age of 13.
The defendant declined to speak during Friday’s hearing, while the victim’s mother described the devastating emotional and psychological toll the ordeal took on her daughter.
“I can’t trust anyone with my kids now,” she said.
Flores will also be subject to the provisions of Megan’s Law and remain under parole supervision for life under the terms Judge Walsh imposed.
“Despite his age, Mr. Flores knew exactly what he was doing, and he picked the most vulnerable victim in the building,” Walsh said. “He knew that he could take advantage of her, and he did.”