Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino today announced that Jose Reyes, 35, of Newark has been sentenced to 20 years in state prison for sexually assaulting three young boys.
At the time of his arrest, Reyes was employed as the manager at the Can Do Fitness Center, located at 750 Morris and Essex Turnpike in Short Hills but there is no evidence Reyes assaulted any children there.
Today the Honorable Robert H. Gardner, JSC, sentenced Reyes to an aggregate of 20 years. He was sentenced to 10 years for one count of first degree aggravated sexual assault and five years each for two counts of second degree sexual assault. Reyes must serve 85 percent of his 20-year prison sentence before he is eligible for parole.
Reyes will serve his sentence at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center, the state prison for sex offenders, located in Avenel. When Reyes is released from prison, he will be a registered sex offender under Megan’s Law and will be on parole supervision for life.
Reyes pleaded guilty on March 12, 2010. Assistant Prosecutor Deborah Freier, who handled the case, described Reyes as “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.’’
“He was a single male, without children of his own, who sought out situations in which he could be around children. He befriended women with children and then offered to baby sit. He portrayed himself as someone who loved children,’’ said Freier.
“This is an all too common case of a man who was beloved and trusted by parents and abused that trust. We agreed to the 20-year sentence to spare the children and their parents from the additional trauma of a trial. From that stand point, this is a good result,’’ said Freier.
Authorities opened an investigation when the mother of a 17-year-old contacted the Bloomfield Police Department, alleging Reyes had sexually assaulted her son on numerous occasions when the boy was between the ages of 9 to 12. Reyes pleaded guilty to the allegations.
Reyes also pleaded guilty to molesting a Montclair boy, now 15 years old, on numerous occasions from November 2006 to November 2007. He also admitted sexually assaulting a 6-year-old Newark boy from March 2008 to March 2009. The sexual assaults occurred at Reyes’ home and other locations.
Acting Prosecutor Laurino commended the Bloomfield and Newark Police Departments along with Detectives Mario Suarez and Paul Sarabando of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.