By Liz Taurasi
Marian Burbine has pled guilty to charges involving her recklessly placing six young children at substantial risk of sexual abuse when she placed them in the sole care of her husband, John Burbine, through her unlicensed child care program, Waterfall Education Center, Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan announced Friday.
Marian Burbine, 48, of Wakefield, pled guilty in Middlesex Superior Court to reckless endangerment of a child (six counts) and operating an unlicensed day care business (two counts). Middlesex Superior Court Judge Thomas Billings continued her sentencing until Monday, June 23. She was original set to stand trial in August.
“The defendant has now admitted her responsibility for this horrendous case of child endangerment,” said District Attorney Ryan in a statement. “Parents of these young children entrusted their children’s wellbeing to the Burbines who portrayed themselves as caring and experienced child care providers. Instead of ensuring the children’s welfare and safety, however, the defendant knowingly put them at risk for sexual abuse by her husband. This is a parent’s worst fear and we hope the resolution of this case will permit the families of these young children to begin the healing process.”
According to authorities, from August 2010 through August 2012, Marian Burbine operated a business called Waterfall Education Center which advertised a number of child care services including short and long term child care, group child care, overnight newborn care, and summer camp alternative care. Waterfall Education Center was not licensed by the Department of Early Education and Care therefore the Burbines were not permitted to care for children outside of the children’s own home.
Through the investigation, it was discovered parents entrusted their young children to John Burbine upon the recommendation of Marian Burbine, who knew her husband was a registered sex offender who had three convictions for indecently assaulting children in 1989 and supported cases with the Department of Children and Families for sexually assaulting boys in his care in 2005 and 2009. Marian Burbine assured parents that John was an experienced and problem-free babysitter.
John Burbine was alleged to have raped and sexually assaulted boys and girls in his care, including 13 infants and young children. The investigation revealed evidence that John Burbine possessed images and videos which he allegedly recorded of these children, stored on his home computer, posed in various states of nudity and engaged in sexual acts.
His victims were infants and toddlers during the time of the abuse, and were from Stoneham, Medford, Newton, Reading, Melrose, Woburn and Waltham.
It is believed that the alleged rapes and abuse occurred outside the presence of the defendant and without her direct knowledge.
In November 2013, while awaiting trial, John Burbine asked a judge to consider granting him 15-year sentence if he underwent castration procedure. That request was denied.
John Burbine died on March 7 while in custody awaiting trial on charges of aggravated forcible rape of child, subsequent offense (40 counts), aggravated indecent assault and battery on a child, subsequent offense (18 counts), posing a child in a state of nudity (13 counts), posing a child in sexual conduct (12 counts), possession of child pornography (14 counts), dissemination of material harmful to a minor (two counts), and operating an unlicensed child care program.
Marian Burbine was arraigned October 1, 2012 in Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn.
The case was investigated by the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office Child Protection Unit, State Police assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office and the Wakefield Police Department in conjunction with the Department of Early Education and Care and the Department of Children and Families.