Wakefield man arrested in child sex abuse case
WOBURN, Mass. (WHDH) -- John Burbine of Wakefield was arrested for more than 100 counts related to child sexual abuse, a case the Middlesex district attorney said is the worst his office has prosecuted.
There were a total of 13 alleged victims; boys and girls from ages eight days to 3 1/2 years old. The abuse allegedly occurred between August 2010 and August 2012.
Investigators said the abuse occurred in the victims’ homes in Stoneham, Medford, Newton, Reading, Melrose, Woburn and Waltham. Burbine would go to these homes as a babysitter for the day care ran by his wife called the Waterfall Education Center located in Wakefield. John Burbine’s wife, Mariann Burbine, 46, was indicted as well.
District Attorney Gerry Leone held a press conference Thursday announcing the allegations against John Burbine and his wife.
“The basis of these indictments is chilling and troubling. It’s alleged that Mariann Burbine violated licensing requirements of the Department of Early education and Care in at least two ways in setting up this business and running it,” said Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone.
John Burbine is charged with 40 counts of aggravated forcible rape of a child. His wife is charged with six counts of reckless endangerment of a child and operating an unlicensed day care business.
“This is the crux of why we are here today because she allowed her husband, John Burbine, to care for children, care for children despite knowing that John Burbine was a convicted sex offender,” said Leone.
John Burbine was listed as a level 1 sex offender after a case of indecent assault and battery on a child in 1989. In 2005 and 2009 state investigators said there were credible complaints of child abuse but there was not enough evidence to prosecute.
The district attorney said the sex abuse allegations first came to light when officials began investigating accusations that Burbine and his wife were running an unlicensed child care center.
On Thursday, the Department of Early Education and Care released a statement saying John and Mariann Burbine were never issued a license from their department allowing them to run any family, group or school-aged child care program. After the department investigation determined the Burbine’s were providing unlicensed early education and child care services, the department immediately ordered the individuals to cease operating and/or advertising the center.
John Burbine was arrested in September and is in custody, but there is no date set for his arraignment.
Mariann Burbine was indicted in October and she is expected to be arraigned in December. She is currently under house arrest and has been ordered to stay away from children.
Leone said there are more than 100 examples of videos and pictures of John Burbine abusing the victims. Investigators were able to identify the victims from the pictures, but Leone said it was a very difficult process for them.
“They had to go through the visual depictions that this defendant himself took of himself sexually assaulting and forcibly raping these children aged 8 days old to 3 1/2 years old,” said Leone.
Authorities began their investigation in earnest in July. There had been previous complaints, but they couldn’t prove anything. Investigators issued a cease-and-desist order that forced the day care center to shut down.
Police are urging anyone with information regarding additional victims to please contact them immediately.
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