Boston Public Schools

Ex-Boston School Employee Convicted of Raping Student With Disabilities

"I'm deeply impressed by the survivor in this case, who overcame tremendous challenges to help hold his abuser accountable," the Suffolk County district attorney said

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A former Boston Public Schools employee was convicted this week of sexually abusing a student with developmental disabilities over two school years, prosecutors said.

Jose Melendez, 55, was found guilty on Tuesday of five counts of aggravated statutory rape of a child under 14 years old, the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office said Thursday. He'll be sentenced June 17.

The student was in the sixth and seventh grades when he was abused by Melendez, a paraprofessional at Mario Umana Academy in East Boston, officials said. While the child has significant limitations communicating, he was able to tell a family member about the abuse, leading to the police investigation that got Melendez indicted 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 Kevin Hayden said in a statement.

Resources for victims of sexual assault are available through the National Sexual Violence Resources Center and the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-4673.

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