- Associated Press - Friday, April 21, 2017

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (AP) - An attorney for a foster father accused of sexually abusing his foster sons over two decades said Friday that no forensic, medical or physical evidence suggests his client committed the abuse.

Lawyer Donald Mates Jr. told jurors in his closing argument Friday that the accusers’ claims against Cesar Gonzales-Mugaburu are not believable, Newsday reported (https://nwsdy.li/2q0qram).

“It’s the quality of the evidence, not the quantity of the evidence you should be focusing on,” Mates said 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. The children, who had mental, intellectual, emotional and behavioral issues, were among more than 100 troubled boys Gonzales-Mugaburu took in over those years.

He was arrested Jan. 20, 2016 and pleaded not guilty. The most serious charge, predatory sexual assault against a child, carries a maximum sentence of 25 years to life.

The jury is scheduled to begin deliberations Monday.

Prosecutors said Gonzales-Mugaburu’s suburban Long Island home in Ridge, New York, was a beautiful house on the outside but a prison to the children who lived there.

Several of Gonzales-Megaburu’s former foster sons testified about the alleged abuse.

One mentally challenged man testified April 12 that Gonzales-Megaburu molested him for about three years beginning when he was 10. The man, now 21, said it left him confused. Newsday did not identify him.

In her closing argument Friday, Assistant District Attorney Christina Pinnola said the accusers 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.

One of the alleged victims testified that twice he walked in on Gonzales-Mugaburu while he was sexually abusing one of the other boys and that person corroborated the account.

“Each of these kids corroborated each other,” Pinnola said

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