Things That Matter

Joe Lopez Is Launching A Career Comeback After Serving Time For Raping Teenage Niece

Do you believe people deserve redemption? In today’s society, cancel culture is real and it has ended the career of many in entertainment, politics, and sports. Some have committed such egregious crimes that their cancelation is in line with societal values and norms. That is a discussion happening now with Joe Lopez’s return to the music world after 12 years in prison for raping his niece when she was 13 years old.

A Tejano musician who was in prison for 12 years after he was convicted of raping his own niece is making a return to the music world.

Credit: El Rodeo Disco / Facebook

Joe Lopez, a 69-year-old singer of the Tejano group called Banda Mazz, was released from prison in 2018 after the parole board deemed it was okay for him to be let go. He was supposed to be in jail for 20 years but was released early, as the Daily Mail reports, after the “Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles decided last week to allow Lopez to enter the county ‘solely for employment purposes.'”

Raymond Estrada, a spokesperson for the parole board, said they encourage offenders to be able to get jobs after their release from prison. 

“The board recognizes the importance of employment as being a critical component to successful reentry for offenders,” Estrada, told the San Antonio Current. “If public safety is not compromised, we support such initiatives.”

That statement is a bit unsettling, considering that Lopez, who is a sex offender, will be singing to women of all ages at concerts. 

In 2004, Lopez was convicted of raping his niece. She was only 13-years-old at the time.

The crime occurred in Rancho Viejo, a small town outside Brownsville, Texas. He has since returned to that same neighborhood, which is where his niece still lives. While he is registered as a sex offender, he has always maintained that he never committed the crime. 

Lopez’s niece has yet to comment on the release of her convicted uncle. However, Andy Kahan of Crime Stoppers Houston and an advocate of the rape victim said the parole’s decision to release Lopez early is a “slap in the face.”  He added, “I can’t fathom their rationale for allowing this to happen. How can I in good conscience now tell victims we can get that in the conditions of their release when it’s subject to being easily removed and changed?”

If you’re thinking that there’s no way people would be interested in hearing Lopez sing again with his band, think again. At least one of his shows is sold out.

Lopez will be performing with his old group Banda Mazz on a comeback tour, and at least one show was sold out as soon as it announced. Oh, and the show is called the “Freedom Tour.” 

El Rodeo Disco uploaded one of Banda Mazz’s videos, and most people on social media were thrilled about the band’s return. 

Pablo Hernandez wrote on Facebook, “Been waiting long enough. Alli voy a estar.” Sylvia Ortiz also chimed in saying, “Whom am I to judge. Love ur music.” Others said, “is this show sold out?” Another said, “can’t wait!” One person, however, did not approve. Juan N Esme Reynoso wrote on Facebook, “This was when he wasn’t a child molester. Rodeo Disco is wrong for letting him perform.”

Lopez definitely has a following. On the band’s Facebook page, fans were thrilled that the band would be headed on a comeback tour.

Sandra Vallejo who serves as Lopez’s manager told the Daily Mail they are seeking to exonerate him of the rape charges. She adds, “For every one person against him, there are three more who support him.” She is right about that. From our research of the band on social media, people are praising their return. 

We think it’s mostly due to the band’s older audience. It’s interesting to note that the biggest Tejano music star — Selena Quintanilla, of course — has some of the most socially conscious fans, especially her new fans. So perhaps some of them will organize a rally at some of Banda Mazz’s shows. Because you know Selena would never stand for a convicted sex offender perform in Texas, or anywhere for that matter, knowing full well that there is a dangerous element involved. 

READ: A Woman Has Come Forward To Accuse An ICE Agent Of Rape And Threatening Her With Deportation

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com