The Long Island foster dad acquitted of sexually abusing eight mentally impaired boys in his care has slammed Suffolk County and two investigators with a $100 million lawsuit for “destroying . . . his reputation.”
“I said from day one, since before I got arrested, that they had nothing on me,” Cesar Gonzales-Mugaburu told The Post.
A jury took seven days to clear Gonzales-Mugaburu, who fostered more than 140 boys over 20 years and spent more than 15 months in jail as Suffolk authorities tried to make their criminal case against him.
Not even the family dog escaped Gonzales-Mugaburu’s creepy attentions, claimed authorities, who called his Ridge home “a prison.”
The “patently incredible” allegations were the result of coaching and coercion from a Suffolk County detective and a Child Protective Services investigator, both of whom had a “propensity” for lying to prosecutors, the 60-year-old claims in the explosive lawsuit he filed last week in Suffolk County Supreme Court.
The case brought with it a thick cloud of suspicion that included neighbors claiming they’d seen neglected children rooting through his garbage for food or standing outside in the cold as punishment; a damning report from the Suffolk District Attorney’s office alleging 18 prior, unsubstantiated reports of abuse; and grueling testimony from the young victims, one of whom alleged he submitted to Gonzales-Mugaburu’s advances to keep the foster dad away from another child.
It was all lies, insists Gonzales-Mugaburu, who said he’s become a “pariah” despite his acquittal in May.
“I’ve been destroyed forever,” he said in his first interview since the trial. “I thought that being acquitted would mean getting respect back from people in the street, especially my neighbors. I haven’t gotten an ounce of respect back.”
Gonzales-Mugaburu has been tossed out of his church, forced to move and denied service at barbershops, supermarkets and gas stations, he said.
“I’m going to carry this forever,” he said.
Before his 2016 arrest, Gonzales-Mugaburu’s home was a go-to destination for child-welfare authorities seeking a safe place to house kids with special needs.
“They depended on me. They knew my experience, they knew what I could deal with, they knew they couldn’t find two homes in the same community like me,” he said.
The accusers “flat out lied about everything,” said his attorney, Jon Norinsberg. “The case is nothing at all what it seems.”
Suffolk County Attorney Dennis Brown declined comment, as did Suffolk police.
Gonzales-Mugaburu doesn’t blame the child accusers, one of whom he described as a schizophrenic.
“I cannot tell these kids they did something wrong. There is nothing to tell a child who has no control over their psychological problems,” he said.
The adults should have known the foster dad was innocent, he charged, claiming that “every day of the week” foster kids “make allegations.”
“I have run into a lot of foster children while I was in jail,” he said. “They all made comments that a child would say they had been touched, just because they don’t like the color of their room.”