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School worker sentenced to prison for abusing disabled child

June 17, 2022 GMT

BOSTON (AP) — A former Boston public school employee convicted of sexually abusing a child with developmental disabilities was sentenced Friday to more than a decade in state prison.

Jose Melendez, 55, will serve no less than 12 years but no more than 15 years behind bars under the terms imposed by a Suffolk Superior Court judge in Boston. He must also register as a sex offender.

Melendez was convicted of four counts of aggravated rape of a child and one count of aggravated assault and battery on a child on May 31.

Prosecutors say Melendez used his position as a paraprofessional at Mario Umana Academy in the city’s East Boston neighborhood to gain the trust of his victim, who has disabilities that impact his communication and other development.

They say the abuse occurred between 2015 and 2016, when the victim was in sixth and seventh grades. The victim then disclosed the abuse to a family member after beginning high school.

Melendez’s lawyer Joseph Simons said his client was “disappointed” by the verdict and intends to appeal his conviction.