, Salem, MA

December 8, 2012

Wakefield man facing sex abuse charges has North Shore ties

By Bethany Bray

---- — DANVERS — The Wakefield man whom police say committed crimes of sexual abuse involving more than a dozen young children was employed by North Shore Community College.

John Burbine, 49, was an adjunct professor with NSCC. He began teaching computer courses at NSCC’s Lynn and Danvers campuses in 1999.

College President Wayne Burton said yesterday Burbine left NECC’s employment in October.

“I am as appalled as anyone at what I’m reading about this particular case,” said Burton. “I want to ensure the public that this college, and all other colleges, do everything we possibly can to ensure the safety of the students and faculty at our schools.”

Prosecutors allege Burbine, a convicted sex offender, sexually abused at least 13 young children in the care of his wife’s unlicensed child care service, and videotaped the acts.

Burton said NSCC runs background checks on any faculty or staff who are likely to be in contact with “vulnerable populations,” such as nursing, where staff might take students into clinical programs with children.

Background checks are “not a general practice” for other areas of study — such as information technology — where staff are not likely to come in contact with minors, said Burton.

John Burbine is a Level 1 sex offender, following a 1989 conviction for indecent assault and battery.

Information on Level 1 sex offenders — defined by the state as having a low risk of re-offense — is not available to the public.

“We cannot get into detailed personnel information, by policy ... Generally speaking, Level 1 records are not publicly available,” said Burton. “Even if a (background) check was made, it would not have shown up.”

Burbine’s wife, Marian, operated Waterfall Education Center in Wakefield.

Middlesex District Attorney Gerard Leone has called Burbine’s case the worst he’s ever seen.

Leone said Thursday Burbine’s alleged victims ranged from 8 days to 3½ years old, and were assaulted while Burbine was caring for them in their homes.

The abuse allegedly occurred between August 2010 and August of this year, involving children living in Stoneham, Medford, Newton, Reading, Melrose, Woburn and Waltham.

Burbine has been in custody since late September as authorities investigated.

Leone said Burbine’s wife was unaware of the alleged abuse. She is charged with reckless child endangerment and operating an unlicensed child care business.

John Burbine’s lawyer said his client will plead not guilty at his Dec. 12 arraignment. Burbine faces an indictment including 100 criminal counts, including aggravated forcible rape of a child.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this article.