December 6, 2012

Mass. sex offender allegedly videotaped child assaults

Prosecutors accuse the suspect of assaulting many of the child victims in their own homes.

The Associated Press

WOBURN, Mass. – Calling the case chilling and troubling, authorities announced an indictment Thursday against a convicted sex offender whom they say videotaped himself sexually assaulting children from his wife's unlicensed day care business.

Prosecutors said John Burbine's wife told parents he was an experienced baby sitter. But instead, authorities allege that the 49-year-old Wakefield man preyed on 13 day care clients ranging from 8 days to 3 years old, with many of the assaults happening in the victims' homes.

Middlesex District Attorney Gerard Leone said Burbine has been in custody since September on charges involving one victim that grew out of an abuse complaint from July. Burbine faces an indictment including 100 criminal counts.

The prosecutor said the abuse occurred between August 2010 and August 2012. Leone said the children lived in the Boston suburbs of Stoneham, Medford, Newton, Reading, Melrose, Woburn and Waltham. He said there may be more victims that investigators haven't identified.

The prosecutor said Burbine's wife, Marian Burbine, operated Waterfall Education Center in Wakefield. The business advertised services including short- and long-term child care, group child care, overnight newborn care and summer camp alternative care.

Leone said investigators believe Marian Burbine didn't know her husband was sexually abusing children, but she knew he was a convicted sex offender and that state officials believed child abuse allegations against him in 2005 and 2009 that never led to prosecution. Both spouses face charges of operating an unlicensed day care business.

Heather Johnson, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Early Education and Care, said Thursday that the Burbines never applied for a day care license and never got one.

Leone said investigators began a probe after previous abuse complaints that didn't lead to criminal charges. This summer, authorities got a cease and desist order for Waterfall Education Center because it wasn't licensed. That led to search warrants for the Burbines' business and home that Leone said led investigators to seize video evidence of the child abuse.

Among the offenses John Burbine faces are 40 counts of aggravated forcible rape of a child. His attorney, William Barabino, said Thursday that the defendant will plead not guilty at his Dec. 12. arraignment. A judge previously ordered the defendant held without bail.

Marian Burbine is free on $1,000 bail following her Oct. 1 arraignment in Middlesex Superior Court. She must wear a GPS monitoring device as a condition of her bail. An indictment against the 46-year-old includes six counts of reckless endangerment of a child.

Leone said John Burbine is a Level 1 sex offender, following a 1989 conviction for indecent assault and battery.

 

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