No forensic, medical or physical evidence suggests Cesar Gonzales-Mugaburu sexually abused his foster sons over two decades, his attorney said Friday in closing remarks.
Donald Mates, Jr. of Hauppauge, one of the attorneys representing Gonzales-Mugaburu, told jurors that if they evaluated the alleged victims’ testimony individually, they would conclude that the accusers’ claims were simply not believable.
“It’s the quality of the evidence, not the quantity of the evidence, you should be focusing on,” Mates said in his summation in Suffolk County Court in Riverhead.
Gonzales-Mugaburu, 60, is charged with sexually abusing six boys in his care and of endangering the welfare of two more.
The alleged crimes occurred between 1996 and 2016 when the boys came to live with him as his foster children. The children had mental, intellectual, emotional and behavioral issues. He adopted the six boys he is accused of molesting.
He was arrested Jan. 20, 2016, and has pleaded not guilty. The most serious charge, predatory sexual assault against a child, carries a maximum sentence of 25 years to life.
Gonzales-Mugaburu was also charged with sexual misconduct for allegedly having sex with one of the family dogs.
In her closing statement, Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Christina Pinnola said the boys, some of whom are now men, described in vivid details the manner and frequency in which Gonzales-Mugaburu molested them, and punished them when they refused his demands.
“You didn’t hear from one kid, two kids; you heard from eight boys,” she said.
Their accounts, Pinnola said, are supported by each other’s testimony.
One of the alleged victims testified that twice he walked in on Gonzales-Mugaburu while he was having sex with one of the other boys, and that person corroborated the account.
“Each of these kids corroborated each other,” Pinnola said.
Portions of the alleged victims’ testimony — such as running away from home — were confirmed by neighbors, police officers and school officials.
“Hold him accountable for everything he’s done to these children,” she said.
The jury is scheduled to begin deliberations Monday.