Connect with us


Massachusetts public school employee convicted of repeatedly raping disabled student



BOSTON – A Superior Court jury earlier this week convicted a former public schools paraprofessional on charges he repeatedly abused a developmentally disabled student, District Attorney Kevin Hayden said.

On Tuesday, a trial jury convicted Jose Melendez, 55, of five counts of aggravated statutory rape of a child under 14. He faces sentencing on June 17.

Assistant District Attorney Amanda Paull of Hayden’s Child Protection Unit presented evidence and testimony at trial to prove that Melendez, while employed as a paraprofessional at the Mario Umana Academy in Boston, repeatedly raped a developmentally disabled student. The victim was in the sixth and seventh grades when the assaults occurred. Despite significant limitations in his ability to communicate, the victim was able to disclose the abuse to a family member. That disclosure led to an investigation by the Boston Police Department and Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office that resulted in indictments in March 2020.

“It is a tragedy for a child who lives with disabilities to be abused by an individual entrusted with their care and wellbeing. It’s a greater tragedy when that abuse goes unreported. I’m deeply impressed by the survivor in this case, who overcame tremendous challenges to help hold his abuser accountable,” District Attorney Hayden said. “The responsibility to create safe schools and communities for our children falls on all of us. Child abuse is more prevalent than any of us would like to acknowledge. We must begin uncomfortable conversations on this issue to not only prevent another child from being harmed but to ensure victims know that, when they come forward, they will be listened to and supported.”

Anyone who suspects abuse of a disabled individual may file a report with the Massachusetts Disabled Persons Protection Commission online or by calling 800-426-9009.

Jacqueline Ramirez is the bilingual victim witness advocate assigned to the case. Melendez is represented by attorney Joseph Simons. Sentencing before Judge Jackie Cowin is scheduled to take place at 9 a.m. on June 17 in courtroom 817 of Suffolk Superior Court.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Copyright © 2017 Fall River Reporter

Translate »