RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The trial of a foster father — accused of predatory sexual abuse against multiple children — was underway with the young boys he allegedly raped being called to testify.
As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, the young boys — some now young men — stepped tentatively into the courtroom, and one at a time outlined the chilling claims of sexual abuse at the hands of 60-year-old Cesar Gonzales-Mugaburu.READ MORE: Yankees Ace Gerrit Cole Tests Positive For COVID-19, Will Not Make Scheduled Start Tuesday
The alleged victims recalled being subject to ‘sexual encounters whenever he wanted.’
“He made me watch pornography is his bedroom,” one witness said.
The home had antique cars in the driveway and a swimming pool with a water slide in the back.
For two decades more than 100 boys revolved through the suburban house on a cul de sac in Ridge.
“It is emotional for us as well, and obviously very emotional for these victims,” Assistant Suffolk County DA, Laurie Moroff said.
The boys suffered from psychological, emotional, and mental issues — vulnerable to fear and intimidation, prosecutors said.
“I’ve talked to them, played basketball with them, never complained. It’s insane, I never would have thought this,” neighbor Patrick Cawley said.READ MORE: Exclusive: Cellphone Video Shows NYPD Sergeant Throw Man To Ground During Violent Arrest On Lower East Side
“We’ve seen him always putzing out there with his cars and the kids doing yard work, tidying up the place,” neighbor Christine Stein added.
The defense attorney said the boys are giving false confessions prompted by financial gain.
“This big bureaucracy has whipped up a witch hunt, a frenzy, and is trying to convict him based upon allegations unfounded, coming from witnesses less than credible,” Donald Mates said.
Mugaburu has pleaded not guilty to charges of sexually abusing eight boys, some of whom he later adopted. The statute of limitations prevents additional charges.
It wasn’t until last January — when a child claimed to see Mugaburu engaged in a sexual act with a dog — that a case worker was finally alerted.
A Suffolk grand jury report blamed a pervasive lack of coordination among child welfare agencies in Suffolk, New York City, and the state.
Gonzales-Mugaburu was paid $1.5-million over 20 years for his services as a foster and adoptive father.
The most serious charge — predatory sexual assault against a child, carries a maximum sentence of 25 years to life, the same punishment as second degree murder.MORE NEWS: New York City Councilmember 'Baffled' By Mayor's Hesitance To Mandate Masks As Delta Variant Spreads