Chilling court papers describe Wakefield man’s alleged child sex abuse spree
Charlie Mahoney for The Boston Globe
WOBURN – During the two years he allegedly preyed on children while providing day care for them, John Burbine repeatedly forced the children to perform sexual acts on him, forced them to sit in high chairs and watch pornography, raped them multiple times – and apparently was so unconcerned about being caught that his face repeatedly shows up in videos he made of the attacks, court records show.
Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone Jr.’s office today filed a nine-page statement of the case in Superior Court shortly after Burbine pleaded not guilty to some 100 criminal charges including multiple counts of rape of a child. Burbine, 49, of Wakefield was ordered held without bail under the state’s dangerousness law.
In the chilling court papers, prosecutors described how Burbine and his wife, Marian, were hired by families to provide day care and, in some cases, overnight care, for periods of days, weeks and, in at least one instance where two sisters were victimized, for as long as 20 months.
Marian Burbine, who ran an unlicensed day care company, Waterfall Education, that offered discount rates and coupons, would conduct the interviews with prospective clients and agree to provide the care. But she would then be replaced by her husband.
For example, the family of a victim known as “BOY 2” hired Marian Burbine to provide overnight care for the newborn. “The first night Marian was scheduled to arrive at the family’s home, the family was surprised when the defendant arrived in his wife’s place,’’ prosecutors wrote. John Burbine told the family his wife was sick.
“From that night on, the defendant provided care for BOY 2’’ for the next five weeks, prosecutors said.
On his computer, prosecutors said in the statement, authorities found “images and movie files that depict BOY 2 in states of nudity and being sexually assaulted by the defendant. … In one video, the defendant’s face is clearly visible as he sexually assaults BOY 2.’’
Marian Burbine, who has pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of reckless endangerment of a child, repeatedly told clients that her husband was “very good’’ with children – even though she told neighbors not to let their children near John Burbine, records show.
Prosecutors have not charged Marian Burbine with facilitating the abuse, but say the investigation remains ongoing. “We are actively looking into her role in this alleged abuse,” said Middlesex district attorney’s spokeswoman Stephanie Chelf Guyotte.
The document filed today catalogues months of horror suffered by some of the children.
“In many of the videos, [John] Burbine can be heard calling the children by name as he sexually assaulted them,’’ prosecutors wrote. He stored some images in a folder on his computer called “Little2.”
When Burbine wasn’t allegedly physically assaulting the children, he was still victimizing them, prosecutors said. Investigators located “multiple images depicting the girls sitting in their high chairs, forced to watch pornography on a laptop computer.’’ Prosecutors said Burbine also took baths with the victims.
Burbine has been threatened by fellow pre-trial detainees and is now under “close observation’’ by the Middlesex Sheriff’s Department, Burbine’s attorney said today.
“I think he’s been threatened, sure,’’ Burbine’s defense attorney, William J. Barabino, told reporters after Burbine was arraigned. Barabino said his client is “distressed” by the charges against him.
Asked if Burbine is under a suicide watch, Barabino said, “He’s been under close observation recently.’’
Barabino said his client, who was arrested on other charges in September, was first held at the Cambridge jail, but has since been relocated to the Billerica House of Correction.
“At the Cambridge jail, it was an uncomfortable process like it is for anybody, but especially with those charges,’’ Barabino said. “At the discretion of the jail ... he was sent to Billerica.’’
Burbine wore a gray sweatshirt and showed no emotion at his arraignment. Barabino agreed that his client will be held without bail under the state’s dangerousness law.
During the arraignment, Middlesex Assistant District Attorney Katelyn Draper told Clerk Magistrate Michael A. Sullivan that the families of the children Burbine allegedly molested want to preserve their privacy and do not want “to be contacted by any media outlets during the pendency of this case.’’
Burbine is a convicted sex offender who was classified as a Level 1 by the Sex Offender Registry Board, someone considered least likely to reoffend and a person whose criminal history cannot be shared with the public. Police can disclose information on Level 2 offenders at the police station when asked, and information about Level 3 offenders is posted on the board’s website.
Burbine had three convictions in 1989 involving indecent assault and battery on a child, according to court records.
The state’s Department of Children and Families also investigated Burbine on suspicion of sexually abusing young boys in 2005 and in 2009, court documents show. Leone said both claims were investigated, but neither was prosecutable.