Former Firefighter pays large settlement to man accusing him of sexually abusing him when he was a child
Hugo Fleites , a former city firefighter was sentenced to 10 years in prison for sex abuse of a child dating back to 1997.
Fleites was ordered to pay $2.75 million in compensatory damages, $2 million in punitive damages, and $8,441 in legal fees, resulting in a settlement of more than $4.75 million.
The victim, identified as John Doe in court documents, says he was just 12 years old when Fleites, then 35, began sexually abusing him.
The man who filed the lawsuit said when his parents divorced, his father moved to California while his mother stayed in New Jersey.
The victim, who now lives in Monmouth County, traveled back and forth from California to New Jersey to visit his mother frequently. According to court documents, his mother was unable to drive and pick him up when he arrived at the airport for visits, due to addiction issues.
Fleites, who worked as an instructor at both the Middlesex and Monmouth County Fire Academies, would pick the victim up at the airport and drive him to his mother’s home, but instead of bringing the child to his mother’s home immediately, Fleites encouraged him to spend the evening at his home where he a began to groom the child causing him to trust him, according to court documents.
The victim claims that when he was asleep, Fleites came into his bedroom, sat on the bed and touched his private parts, pulling his clothing off and eventually began sexually abusing him.
As a result of therapy, the man was able to understand “for the first time in his life” that he was not at fault and responsible for the sexual acts perpetrated on him when he was just a child and Fleites was 23 years older than him.
Fleites is serving his sentence at South Woods State Prison.