A Long Island man who was once seen as a saving grace for New York's foster care system was recently handed an additional charge of sexually abusing one of the many wayward boys he watched over.
Sixty-year-old Cesar Gonzales-Mugaburu pleaded not guilty to the alleged crime in front of a Suffolk County judge, according to the New York Times, on Thursday morning. It was the latest add-on to a previous 17-count list of charges that included sexual misconduct to his dog, child endangerment, and five other sexual abuse claims that were made by two young men that Gonzales-Mugaburu took into his home at some point in time.
The latest indictment was said to have come from the tale of another young man, one of the 106 who were placed with Gonzales-Mugaburu in his four-bedroom Long Island home throughout his life, who claimed that he was assaulted by his former foster father when he was just 13 years old. His tale mirrored that of at least five other boys who have been brave enough to step forward with their stories.
Three of Gonzales-Mugaburu's alleged victims were unable to testify due to the statute of limitations running out, but the one who stepped forward most recently was able to do so in front of a grand jury. Another two were also set to testify, but backed out from doing so at the last moment.
Mr. Gonzales-Mugaburu's council, Donald Mates, Jr., says that most of the now-adult foster children are simply liars.
"He opened his home and his heart to some troubled young boys," he expressed, "and this is how the universe is repaying him."
As stated by the newest victim, who is said to suffer from behavioral and cognitive disabilities, after being placed with Mr. Gonzales-Mugaburu in 2013, the accused often subjected him to what he said was "daily physical and verbal abuse and periods of starvation," while also repeatedly attempting to sexually assault him.
Other reports of degrading and lascivious behavior regarding Gonzales-Mugaburu and the children he cared for go back as far as the 1990s, with several others sharing tales of their abuse with social workers or school counselors. For some reason, the non-profit organization which placed the boys into his home, St. Christopher Ottilie Family of Services, failed to look further into the notes that were ultimately sent their way by concerned parties, choosing instead to continue to allow the supposed child molester to watch over more children.
"We believe that the policy [of notifying law officials] was followed," claimed SCO spokesperson Rose Anello. However, due to state law, she was not allowed to provide any documentation of those reports.Additionally, Joanne Wasserman, the spokeswoman for the Administration for Children's Services, said their agency never received any notifications from Anello or SCO. Overall, SCO would place more than 70 children into Gonzales-Mugaburu's care throughout the years.
"In retrospect, knowing what we know now," Anello added, "a decision to close the home should have been made [earlier]."
Following past reports of his supposed actions, the city of Suffolk did ultimately stop allowing Gonzales-Mugaburu from fostering more children earlier this year. However, that ban was apparently only consequential to those who were wards of Suffolk, and not anywhere else outside of that particular location. Reports of sexual abuse involving the former foster parent continued on until earlier this year, when he was finally apprehended back in January.
If found guilty, Mr. Gonzales-Mugaburu faces up to 50 years in prison. Two of his former children, now adults, have recently moved back into the home to care for two abandoned and malnourished dogs, according to the New York Daily News.
[Featured Image by Katarzyna Bialasiewicz/iStock]