Mom: Valdez Elementary principal made child apologize to teacher's aide who sexually assaulted him
Child assaulted during recess, affidavit says
Last Updated: 107 days ago
DENVER - The mother of a child who was allegedly sexually assaulted by a teacher's aide told police the principal made the boy apologize to his alleged attacker.
The mother said the boy apologized and then was sexually assaulted again, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by 7NEWS.
The suspect, Matthew Melendez, has now been arrested on a charge of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust, our partners at the Denver Post first reported.
Melendez worked as a paraprofessional at Valdez Elementary School. He has been placed on unpaid leave.
The principal at the time of the first allegations, who is no longer at Valdez, said he did not make the child apologize.
"There was never any time when I or any Valdez staff attempted to compel the student to apologize," Peter Sherman said in a statement sent to 7NEWS.
Sherman also said all of the proper reporting procedures were followed when the previous allegations were made in 2012.
"That reporting happened as soon as the school was aware of the allegations," Sherman wrote. "The Denver Police Department and DPS Safety and Security did complete investigations."
In the arrest affidavit, the victim's mother told investigators her son reported being sexually assaulted by "Mr. Matt" in the 3rd grade. When police dropped the case, the mother said, "her son was forced by the principal of Valdez Elementary School to apologize to Mr. Matt for lying." It's not clear why police initially dropped the case.
When the boy was in 4th grade, he apparently did not have contact with the suspect until he was moved into Mr. Matt's 5th grade class at the end of the school year in May 2013, the investigating detective wrote.
The mother said when she talked to her son about going back to school, her son told her, "Mr. Matt had touched him in a sexual way. Mr Matt 'dangled' [victim's] 'peepee' (penis) by hitting it with his hand to make it moved back and forth. Mr Matt then placed [victim's] 'peepee' (penis) between Mr. Matt's pointer and middle finger and pushed and pulled and pulled [sic] his penis with his fingers."
The mother told the detective that this happened at least three times when the victim was in trouble and was not allowed to go to recess with the other children. The boy told a children's advocate that the sexual assault, which lasted about 6 minutes, occurred in the central staircase or back hall.
After detectives investigated, Melendez was arrested.
Meanwhile, a woman who wanted to remain anonymous said Melendez was trying to adopt her son after she lost custody.
"I just thought because he was in that position maybe he would be a good person to raise my son to be a man," she told 7NEWS.
The woman said her son attends Valdez Elementary where the pair developed a special relationship. Facebook photos showed them side by side and documents from Social Services revealed they were allowed to go off campus on "passes" to get to know each other.
"They would let Matt take him off campus so they could get to know each other and interact," the woman said.
Three weeks ago those outings suddenly stopped and Social Services never said why, she said.
"I get sick to my stomach when I think about it because it could've happened to my son."
7NEWS spoke with Social Services but the spokeswoman said they couldn't comment on specific cases.
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