Former Menudo Band Member Accuses Jose Menendez of Rape Decades After His Children Did
Roy Rosselló, a former member of the popular band Menudo, accused the late Jose Menendez, a major Hollywood record producer until his death in 1989, of drugging and raping him in a new documentary produced by Peacock.
“Menendez + Menudo: Boys Betrayed” covers the untold story of the Menendez patriarch’s predatory behavior, which his sons Lyle and Erik referenced during their trial after murdering him and their mother, Mary Louise “Kitty” Menendez.
Menudo member accuses Menendez father
In a newly-released clip from the upcoming documentary, Rosselló accuses Jose Menendez of sexual assault, saying, “That’s the man here that raped me,” as he points at a picture of Jose.
According to the New York Times, the upcoming series is an adaptation of reporting done by Robert Rand and Nery Ynclan, two journalists investigating the connections between Menendez and the former Menudo singer.
The two met after Menudo signed with RCA Records, of which Menendez was an executive. Rosselló says he went to Menendez’s house at 14. He says Menendez drugged and raped him at his home in New Jersey.
A similarly themed HBO Max documentary, “Menudo: Forever Young,” also delves into the misconduct and abuse the members of Menudo endured at the height of their fame. Despite their personal accounts, authorities have not charged anyone involved with the accusations.
The Menendez brothers trial was a media sensation
In 1996, a judge sentenced Jose’s sons, Erik and Lyle, to life in prison for the 1989 murder of their parents. The case was one of the biggest media events of the 1990s. Along with the OJ Simpson trial, the Menendez brothers’ trial solidified televised celebrity criminal cases as mainstream entertainment.
In the courtroom, though, the brothers accused their father of sexually abusing them. However, the prosecutors and the general public outright refused to believe the two boys, who are currently serving their life sentences at San Diego’s Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility.
If you haven’t seen any footage from the trial, you can watch part of Erik Menendez’s three-hour testimony here:
Throughout the highly publicized case, the media characterized the Menendez brothers as money-hungry children who only wanted to inherit their parents’ multi-million dollar estate. Because they came from privilege, those following the trial could not take their accusations of sexual abuse seriously.
Additionally, the prosecution did its best to emphasize the brutality of the murders. The brothers entered their parents’ home with shotguns and shot them a total of 16 times. When police arrived on the scene, the brothers said they came home to find their parents dead.
However, in the months after the murders, the brothers were spotted making large purchases with the inheritance they received following their parents’ death. Eventually, authorities arrested the brothers and charged them with the murder of their parents.
The brothers went through two separate trials between 1993 and 1996. The first trial ended in two hung juries and a subsequent mistrial. However, when prosecutors retried the brothers, the new jury found them guilty of first-degree murder.
Both Erik and Lyle hope the new documentary will shed light on accusations they made against their father nearly 30 years ago. Some are even wondering if the new documentary will help exonerate the brothers at some point in the near future.
Legal experts say the chances of their release are slim
More than 25 years after the 1996 verdict, there is a newfound interest in the brothers’ claims of sexual abuse. However, one family member still refuses to believe it. Kitty Menendez’s 88-year-old brother, Milton Andersen, said, “They do not deserve to walk on the face of this earth.”
However, more stories of Hollywood impropriety are surfacing every year. With multiple accusations against Jose Menendez from multiple people, public opinion may shift. As far as getting the Menendez brothers out of prison, there’s a long way to go.
A criminal law professor at Loyola Law School named Laurie Levenson said the accusation “could be something you could file with the court and claim that it’s newly discovered evidence and that it would have made a difference in the case,” per the New York Times.
However, Rosselló’s representation will have to meet the burden of proof for anything to make its way through the courts.