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Teen says he let adoptive father molest him to protect others

A 16-year-old boy testified Monday, April 10, 2017

A 16-year-old boy testified Monday, April 10, 2017 at the trial of Cesar Gonzales-Mugaburu, above, that he let the Ridge man molest him to protect others from enduring the same abuse. Credit: SCDA

A 16-year-old boy on Monday told a Riverhead jury he routinely submitted to being molested by his adoptive father because he wanted to spare another boy from enduring the same abuse.

The soft-spoken teenager testified that he surrendered to Cesar Gonzales-Mugaburu, whenever the man summoned him to his bedroom for sex, starting in the summer of 2014 when he was 13.

“How often?“ Assistant District Attorney Laurie Moroff asked.

“Every other week,” answered the teenager, whom Newsday is not identifying.

The boy said he yielded to Gonzales-Mugaburu for about 18 months because he was trying to protect a foster brother, just as another boy in the home had tried to do for him.

“To keep [his foster brother] safe,” the boy said in explaining his actions.

He avoided looking at Gonzales-Mugaburu in court except once when asked to identify him. The boy is the third prosecution witness to testify that Gonzales-Mugaburu sexually abused him.

Gonzales-Mugaburu, 60, is on trial before Suffolk County Court Judge Barbara Kahn, charged with sexually abusing six boys and a dog. The most serious charge, predatory sexual assault against a child, carries a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

Gonzales-Mugaburu, who was arrested in January 2016, has pleaded not guilty.

Defense attorney Donald Mates Jr. of Hauppauge said in his opening statement that his client sexually abused no one. The stories told by these boys, some now men, aren’t credible, said Mates.

The teenager who testified Monday said he has lived in foster homes since he was 3 1⁄2 to 4 years old.

In the summer of 2009, when he was 8, the boy said, he began living with Gonzales-Mugaburu in the man’s four-bedroom home as a foster child along with other boys. Some of those who have lived with Gonzalez-Mugaburu as foster children were later adopted by the defendant.

Under questioning by Mates, the boy said before Gonzales-Mugaburu’s arrest, a social worker and two detectives, possibly three, came to the house on separate occasions and asked him whether Gonzales-Mugaburu molested him. The boy said he told them he hadn’t.

In one instance in April 2015, months before Gonzales-Mugaburu’s arrest, the boy told Mates, he spoke with a male detective.

“You told him Cesar did nothing to you, correct?” Mates asked the boy.

“Yes,” the boy replied.

But under questioning by Moroff, the boy said he refused to speak to that detective and the others who came to the house.

“I am not a talkative person,” said the boy. “I am usually quiet.”

The boy’s conflicting testimony, Mates suggested, indicates he wants to please adults and will agree with what they want him to say.

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