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Long IslandCrime

Second man testifies about abuse at Ridge foster home

Cesar Gonzales-Mugaburu, 60, of Ridge, is charged with

Cesar Gonzales-Mugaburu, 60, of Ridge, is charged with sexually abusing six boys and endangering the welfare of two others. Credit: SCDA

A Wading River man testified Thursday that his foster parent turned adoptive father molested him and another teenage boy when they were living in Ridge in 2012.

One night, the man told jurors in a Riverhead courtroom, he fell asleep while watching the television show “Criminal Minds” in the bedroom of his father, Cesar Gonzales-Mugaburu.

The witness said he woke to find that his shorts and boxers had been pulled down below his ankles. His father was on top of him, the man said, abusing him sexually.

“How did you feel?” Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Laurie Moroff asked the man, whom Newsday is not identifying.

“Very violated,” answered the man, who turned 21 this week.

The man said he yelled for Gonzales-Mugaburu to get off him, then ran into his own bedroom.

Gonzales-Mugaburu, 60, who raised dozens of foster children, is on trial before Suffolk County Court Judge Barbara Kahn, charged with sexually abusing six boys and endangering the welfare of two others.

The most serious charge, predatory sexual assault against a child, carries a maximum sentence of 25 years to life. He has pleaded not guilty.

Defense attorney Donald Mates Jr. of Hauppauge said in his opening statement that his client did not abuse the boys, arguing that their stories aren’t credible.

The Wading River man is the second prosecution witness to testify this week that Gonzales-Mugaburu sexually abused him when he was a boy.

The man testified Thursday that he twice caught Gonzales-Mugaburu molesting one of the other boys — on Gonzales-Mugaburu’s bed and in the bedroom closet.

After he himself was sexually assaulted, the man said he fell into depression and started cutting himself. He spent six months at South Oaks Hospital, a psychiatric facility in Amityville. After his release, he said he was sent to live in a residential home for boys in upstate New York.

The man said he lived in foster homes in Florida, Texas and Washington, starting when he was 8.

In summer 2011, when he was 14, the man said he left Washington state to live with Gonzales-Mugaburu. When he arrived, there were three other boys living in the four-bedroom house. For the first two months, the man said his social worker stopped by the Ridge house daily to check on him.

The abuse began, the man said, after Gonzales-Mugaburu adopted him in August 2012.

The man said he didn’t tell anyone about the abuse for years because it made him uncomfortable.

In 2015, when he was 18 and living in Wading River, the man said he told his therapist about the abuse, then repeated his story to police officers and a social worker.


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