WOODBURY - The attorney for a Ridge man accused of sexually abusing his foster children is claiming that the alleged victims are being manipulated.
Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota described the home as a house of horrors, but defense attorney Donald Mates insists that his client, Cesar Gonzalez-Mugaburu, did nothing but provide a happy, healthy and loving environment for the 140 foster children for whom he cared over the past two decades.
It's been nearly a month since the 59-year-old was indicted on charges of sexually abusing seven of the boys under his care. Officials say all of them are developmentally disabled.
Mates says he believes the children may have been sexually abused by someone -- just not by Mugaburu. He says he will try to prove that someone got the children to falsely blame his client. As for whom is allegedly making the false accusations, Mates says he does not know.
Spota has said that many of the victims described punishment and physical contact at the hands of Gonzalez-Mugaburu. He said they claimed to be denied meals and were forced to stand out in the cold.
Since then, police say three more of Mugaburu's foster sons have come forward, claiming similar abuse.
Mates says that on at least 17 separate occasions over the past 18 years, Suffolk County Child Protective Services officers had spoken with Gonzalez-Mugaburu about allegations of abuse, both sexual and physical. Nothing had come from those check-ups, he says.
According to officials, Mugaburu was being paid close to $18,000 a month to care for the children. The New York City Administration for Children's Services says it will be visiting all 500 foster homes overseen by the nonprofit St. Christopher Ottilie.
The Suffolk County district attorney declined to comment.