A Massachusetts man has been indicted on "100 counts of charges related to the rape and sexual abuse of more than a dozen young children in their own homes," reports say.
According to the Boston Globe, Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone announced on Thursday that 49-year-old John Burbine of Wakefield, Mass., "videotaped himself as he raped and sexually abused 13 small children," some as young as 8 days old. Burbine had reportedly gained access to his victims -- the oldest of whom was 3 -- through a child care service run by his wife.
Prosecutors say the Burbines "advertised child care and tutoring on various websites, including parenting and coupon sites. The Waterfall Education Center offered short and long term child care, group child care, overnight newborn care, and summer camp alternative care," according to the Globe.
Burbine was arrested in September after police received a complaint; court documents show that a 2-year-old girl had been involved," Fox 25 reports.
[Burbine] has been indicted on charges of aggravated forcible rape of child, subsequent offense (40 counts), aggravated indecent assault and battery on a child, subsequent offense (17 counts), posing a child in a state of nudity (12 counts), posing a child in sexual conduct (11 counts), possession of child pornography (13 counts), dissemination of material harmful to a minor (2 counts) and operating an unlicensed child care program.
Burbine will be arraigned on Dec. 12, 2012 at 9 a.m. in Middlesex Superior Court.
“This is among the most troubling and disturbing cases of child abuse ever prosecuted in Middlesex County," Leone said in a statement. "This defendant is accused of sexually assaulting more than a dozen children in his care, cruelly violating them and painfully betraying the trust of their parents."
Burbine's wife, Marian, has reportedly also been charged with six counts of reckless endangerment of a child and two counts of operating an unlicensed day care business, the Boston Globe reports. Prosecutors say she was likely unaware of her husband's crimes.
But, according to Fox 25, this is not the first time that Burbine has been accused of depraved behavior. In 1989, Burbine was charged with indecent assault and battery on a child, and was subsequently listed as a level one sex offender. He is said to have also been investigated by state social workers in 2005 and again in 2009 over two separate complaints of child abuse.
Though the complaints lodged against Burbine at the time had been found to be "credible," the cases were reportedly dropped due to lack of evidence.
At a news conference on Thursday, Leone said that that the penalties that would be levied on Burbine if he is charged are such that “he will never get out of jail.”
"Children are our most vulnerable victims and we will continue to prosecute to the fullest extent those who harm or exploit them,” he said, according to NECN.
In the wake of this troubling news, WHDH notes that Massachusetts parents may now be second-guessing their children's safety. But as the news agency explains, there are ways for parents to ensure the credibility of their children's caretakers.
"People can check with the local police department where the babysitter lives to see if they are listed as a sex offender," WHDH writes. "Parents of minor children who want to screen prospective babysitters may use a special criminal record information request. That will tell you if the person was charged as an adult with a crime and if they were convicted. The cost is $25 and it does require you to know the person’s date of birth."