The trial for a Long Island, New York, foster father who is accused of numerous allegations of sexual abuse with children in his care began on Wednesday. Prosecutors describe his home as tranquil in appearance, having a nicely manicured lawn and classic cars parked in the driveway. But, was “like a prison” for the boys he was raising. Many of these boys suffered from mental illness or low I.Q.s.
According to the prosecutors in this case against Cesar Gonzales-Mugaburu, boys would wake up in the middle of the night to find Mr. Gonzales-Mugaburu allegedly on top of them. At other times, the boys would be chasing the dogs around the house and would allegedly find him sexually abusing another child.
One boy allegedly allowed the rape to happen. He hoped that if he submitted to Mr. Gonzales-Mugaburu and kept his attention on him, that he would be less likely to sexually abuse his younger brother.
Laurie Moroff, an assistant district attorney in Suffolk County, told the jury in her opening statement, “These boys would live in fear, fear of a man who would threaten them physically, physically assaulted them, threatened to shoot them with a gun, threatened to run them over with a car, threatened them into submission. They lived in a world the defendant created.”
According to state records, over the last two decades New York city’s child welfare agency sent 95 troubled boys to live with him. In addition, other agencies placed boys with Mr. Gonzales-Mugaburu, in all, 106 boys had been placed with him in his home. He became a sort of hero to child welfare workers struggling to find homes for troubled boys.
There were various reports of alleged abuse from some of the boys under Mr. Gonzales-Mugaburu, made to school guidance counselors, social workers, and anonymous tips to a child-abuse hotline that sends reports to a statewide database. Some of the reports alleged bizarre neglect, and others accused him of sexual abuse, but surprisingly, no past investigations led to criminal charges or to any limitations on his role as a foster parent.
The long run of reports and suspicions finally caught up to Mr. Gonzales-Mugaburu, and last month prosecutors in Suffolk County charged him with sexually abusing at least five children and endangering two more.
Mr. Gonzales-Mugaburu, 59, plead not guilty, and in an interview while in jail, he told reporters the allegations were not true, saying, “I don’t know anything about it.”
If you or someone you love has been suspected of child sexual abuse, contact Orange County criminal defense lawyer Staycie R. Sena at (949)477-8088 for a consultation now.