WOBURN, Mass — Investigators are attempting to contact parents who have used a Wakefield-based agency for child care. The Waterfall Education Center was closed in August as a result of an investigation into the alleged sexual abuse of children. Now, one of the center’s owners is under indictment on charges of raping 13 infants and toddlers.
The indictments target John and Marian Burbine, who operated the Waterfall center.
“In my 14 years in Middlesex County, eight as an assistant district attorney and six as the district attorney, I have never seen a case this bad,” Middlesex District Attorney Gerard Leone said. “The nature, scope and extent of the abuse, the forcible rape, the neglect and the exploitation in this case is the worst I’ve ever seen.”
Waterfall provided child care in the children’s homes, and that is where most of the alleged abuse occurred. Marian Burbine was indicted for running and operating an unlicensed daycare business and reckless endangerment of a child for allegedly allowing her husband to care for children despite the fact that he is a convicted sex offender.
John Burbine is charged with, among other things, the rape and assault of children.
“August 2010 to August 2012, at least 13 child victims, male and female, ages 8 days old to 3.5 years old,” Leone said. “I’ll repeat that: 8 days old to 3.5 years old is the span of victimization in this case.”
“The charge is very serious,” said William Barabino, John Burbine’s attorney, “and the district attorney’s team is certainly very competent, and if the police investigation was done correctly, Mr. Burbine is facing substantial time in jail, and if he’s not, obviously the opposite is true. Maybe he could go free.”
John Burbine is in custody, Marian Burbine under house arrest. The evidence against them includes videos and still images of John Burbine allegedly abusing all 13 victims.
The Department of Children and Families had supported allegations of sexual abuse against John Burbine in 2005 and 2009, but prosecutors were not able to bring charges then.
Leone said scores of children were in Waterfall’s care. He said investigators have spoken to parents they’ve been able to identify and are trying to prioritize which parents to reach out to.
This post was updated with the All Things Considered feature version.