Robert Fioretti, a convicted molester and suspected murderer who shocked City Island 21 years ago, is free. On Thursday, May 14, he left prison for a halfway house in Brooklyn.
Parole officers and therapists will keep Fioretti under strict surveillance; the ex-cop wears an ankle bracelet and is banned from returning to the Bronx. Even so, Fioretti’s release has spooked a number of City Island residents and enraged Christina Brooks, one of the stepdaughters he raped.
“I’m pissed, I’m terrified, I’m upset,” Brooks said. “He’s [in Brooklyn] thinking God knows what. He’s a murderer and a person who touches children. He’s not rehabilitated.”
The Fioretti saga began in 1986, when his wife Rita vanished. Less than a month later, Maureen Brooks, Fioretti’s patrol partner, moved in with him at 440 King Avenue. Rumors on City Island linked Fioretti to Rita’s disappearance.
“I remember going to a PTA meeting,” City Island resident Barbara Dolensek said. “I went to sign in and stood behind a couple. When it was my turn, I saw that it’d been Fioretti in front of me. I remember feeling chills.”
In 1988, a federal judge put Fioretti behind bars for bank fraud and the sexual abuse of Maureen’s two young daughters, by then his stepdaughters. He was never tried; Rita was never found. The NYPD dumped Fioretti in 1987.
Fioretti completed his prison sentence in September and was committed to an upstate psychiatric center – a sex offender deemed unfit to rejoin society. Christina wants to put Fioretti back in prison and hopes police will reopen Rita’s case. She begged City Island residents – Rita’s friends and acquaintances – to volunteer tips.
“I wish someone would step up and talk,” Christina said. “[Rita] wasn’t my mother but we suffered at the hands of the same man. I relate to her. We’ve let her down.”
Fioretti won’t revisit City Island; residents need not be afraid, Christina said. She is in contact with Fioretti’s parole officer. Fioretti has shaved his trademark prison beard.
“I can’t imagine he’d have the chutzpa to show up here,” Dolensek said.