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Accused molester seeks deal for reduced sentence

Accused child molester John Burbine (right) with defense attorney William Barabino (left) at Burbine’s arraignment in  December, 2012.

Globe File/2012

Accused child molester John Burbine (right) with defense attorney William Barabino (left) at Burbine’s arraignment in December, 2012.

WOBURN — A lawyer for accused serial child molester John Burbine proposed in court Wednesday that his client be castrated in exchange for a sharply reduced prison sentence, but said prosecutors rejected the idea and were preparing for trial.

William Barabino, who represents Burbine, said he was seeking a plea agreement that would limit Burbine’s sentence to a maximum of 15 years if he agreed to undergo the procedure. But prosecutors, who are seeking a life sentence for Burbine, said they were not open to a plea, Barabino said.

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“They expressed no interest,” he said after a hearing in Middlesex Superior Court. “They are not going to adjust their sentencing recommendation.”

Burbine, who was arraigned in December 2012, showed no emotion during the Wednesday hearing.

Burbine is accused of raping and sexually abusing 13 children that he gained access to through his wife’s unlicensed day care business between 2010 and 2012. The youngest victim was eight days old. Authorities say most of the assaults took place in the victims’ homes.

Parents typically hired Burbine’s wife, Marian Burbine, to look after their children. But John Burbine sometimes showed up in her place, court records show.

Marian Burbine has pleaded not guilty to reckless endangerment of a child.

John Burbine is also facing charges that he raped a boy in Saugus on several occasions from 1990 to 1994. He was convicted and received a six-month suspended sentence for sexually molesting three young brothers in the late 1980s.

Barabino said that he did not believe there had ever been a court-sanctioned castration in Massachusetts, but that they have been performed in other states. “He would lose his desire and sexual function, which would have some mitigating effect,” Barabino said.

Barabino said Burbine had agreed to the procedure, but the prosecution’s refusal to negotiate a plea deal made it a moot point.

“We know now it’s not going to go forward” he said.

Barabino said he was seeking to negotiate a plea because he is “realistic about the charges” and said Burbine has never disputed them.

A spokeswoman for the Middlesex District Attorney’s office, which is prosecuting Burbine, declined to comment.

Superior Court Judge Heidi Brieger denied the motion without prejudice; Barabino said he could revisit the matter at sentencing.

Barabino also asked the court for $7,500 to have Burbine evaluated by a psychiatrist to determine his criminal responsibility. Brieger tabled the request, saying she needed more details.

A specialist would determine whether Burbine “appreciates the wrongfulness of his actions,” Barabino said.

Prosecutor Katharine Folger said she expected a lengthy trial that would last four to six weeks. She said that she expected jury selection to be difficult, and that she would recommend half-day sessions given the difficult nature of the evidence.

“I don’t think, frankly, it would be beneficial to go a full-day,” Folger said.

Burbine is due back in court Jan. 6.

Martin Finucane of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Peter Schworm can be reached at schworm@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globepete.

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