RIVERHEAD, N.Y.— A special grand jury will investigate New York's foster care system following the arrest of a Long Island man on child sex abuse charges. One of his alleged victims is a special needs boy from Olympia, Wash.
Prosecutors say Cesar Gonzales-Mugaburu, 60, welcomed 140 boys over 20 years before allegations of sex abuse surfaced this year. He's alleged to have "specifically targeted young boys to foster, particularly those that had emotional or behavioral challenges."
Mugaburu was arrested last winter and charged in March with victimizing seven children as young as 8.
A new indictment was unsealed Thursday accusing him of abusing a boy who was originally from Olympia. Court documents say the boy, who has behavioral and cognitive disabilities, lived in foster care most of his life. He was about 11-years-old when he was transferred from a group home in Washington to Mugaburu's home on Long Island. Prosecutors say the transfer was part of an agreement between SCO Family of Services and Washington state Department of Social and Health Services.
Mugaburu allegedly subjected the boy to daily physical and verbal abuse, starvation, and attempted sexual assaults. The boy reported the abuse to social workers and teachers, but nothing changed, say prosecutors.
The boy was brought back to Washington after Mugaburu's arrest.
Mugaburu was the subject of nine previous investigations involving alleged abuse dating to 1998, according to a spokeswoman for Suffolk County. Each of those inquiries led to a finding at the time that the allegations weren't credible. But in January, two brothers living in the home came forward with credible stories of abuse which cracked the case open.
Among the allegations from prosecutors over all the indictments, Mugaburu:
- Subjected the boys to repeated sexual abuse
- Had sex with a female dog in front one boy
- Locked boys in their rooms for weeks
- Made boys stand in the rain for hours
- Fed them only twice a day, often making them eat off the floor
- Denying them showers for weeks at a time
- Forced them to take unnecessary medication
- Denied them medical treatment
Mugaburu's attorney says his client denies ever abusing children and suggested the alleged victims were lying.
SCO placed 72 New York City children in Mugaburu's care over 20 years, said it never uncovered evidence of sexual abuse or improper sexual behavior in the home. But an official with the agency said there were other issues that should have led to a decision to close the foster home.
Copyright 2016 KING