Cesar Gonzales-Mugaburu, 60, faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted.
Syosset, NY - March 29, 2017 - The child sex abuse trial of a Ridge foster parent is scheduled to start today (3/29) in Riverhead, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said. Opening arguments are scheduled for 10:30 am before Judge Barbara Kahn (second floor of the courthouse) in criminal court.
Cesar Gonzales-Mugaburu, 60, is alleged to have sexually abused six boys’ in a 17-count indictment; the top charge, predatory sexual assault against a child, is a class “A” felony punishable by a maximum of 25 years to life in prison upon conviction. The crimes in the indictment are alleged to have occurred from 1996 to 2015.
The defendant operated a therapeutic foster home for developmentally disabled boys or those with behavioral problems. District Attorney Spota said statute of limitations laws prevented the filing of more charges involving the alleged abuse of other boys in his care.
Mugaburu was arrested by police in January of 2016 when two boys, then 11 and 13 years old, told a caseworker their foster father was sexually inappropriate with them. District Attorney Spota said the investigation found Mugaburu, over the course of 20 years, was paid a total of $1.543 million for his services as a foster and adoptive parent, housing from six to eight children at a time. He legally adopted six boys who are the victims of the sex crimes alleged in the indictment.
The children in the home, DA Spota said, were isolated by Mugaburu who barred them from participating in school or sports activities, prevented them from having cellphones, and forbid visits by their friends.
A Special Grand Jury Report released last month concluded the agencies responsible for the placement and care of foster children, as well as governmental agencies, failed to communicate with each other despite Mugaburu being the subject of 18 child-abuse investigations. The Special Grand Jury proposed 26 legislative and administrative recommendations to improve accountability and agency communication.
“Through the lens of this single foster home, the Special Grand Jury found the foster care system woefully inadequate when it comes to protecting kids,” District Attorney Spota said.
A criminal charge is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.