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Ridge foster dad acquitted of sexual abuse will sell story, attorney says

Cesar Gonzales-Mugaburu, talks to a Suffolk County police

Cesar Gonzales-Mugaburu, talks to a Suffolk County police Seventh Precinct sergeant and a town worker at home in Ridge on Tuesday, May 2, 2017, where he returned after being acquitted on child sex abuse charges earlier in the day. Credit: James Carbone

A former foster father acquitted by a Riverhead jury earlier this week of charges he sexually abused six boys in his care wants to sell his story to earn money to support himself, according to his attorney.

Cesar Gonzales-Mugaburu came home Tuesday and discovered that his house in Ridge had been ransacked during the nearly 16 months he had been in jail awaiting trial, said Donald Mates, Jr. of Hauppauge, one of the attorneys who defended Gonzales-Mugaburu at his trial.

Mates said his client lost personal property, furniture, cash, cars, copper piping, appliances and clothes.

“He’s looking to rebuild his life and since he has absolutely no money and is potentially going on social services, I’m looking to get him a ‘few dollars’ for him to give an exclusive interview for print media and still photographs,” Mates said in an email.

Court records showed that the four-bedroom house with a pool in the backyard went into foreclosure in February.

In the two days since the jury in Suffolk County Court cleared Gonzales-Mugaburu, 60, of all criminal charges, the former wine distributor who became a full-time foster parent has declined to speak to reporters.

On Thursday, Mates shopped Gonzales-Mugaburu’s story around to various news organizations, including The New York Times, the Daily News, The New York Post, and Newsday, which does not pay for stories.

“If nobody offers anything then he’s not doing an interview,” Mates said in an email.

During the three-week trial before Suffolk County Court Judge Barbara Kahn, six witnesses, ages 16 to 29, testified that Gonzales-Mugaburu sexually abused them when they were boys sent to live as his foster children. The abuse, they said, continued after Gonzales-Mugaburu adopted them. Suffolk prosecutors had said the sexual abuse occurred between 1996 and 2016.

Gonzales-Mugaburu was also cleared of charges he endangered the welfare of two other boys, now 12 and 14, who were sent to live as his foster children in 2015.

The six accusers — some suffered from mental illness or had low I.Q.s — are now living in a residential treatment center or on their own.

One of them, Mark Gonzales-Mugaburu, 29, of Mastic Beach, said he was still in shock that the jury acquitted the man he said sexually abused him when he was boy. He testified that he told Child Protective Services what was happening to him and other boys, but no charges were brought.

“If I could talk to the jurors, I’d tell them you guys are wrong because you let a pedophile out,” said Mark Gonzales-Mugaburu, who wants his name published. “Our testimony alone should have been good enough.”

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