DENVER - A Denver youth baseball coach and elementary school paraprofessional now facing a sex assault on a child charge was accused of sexually assaulting the same alleged victim more than a year ago.
Denver District Attorney spokesperson Lynn Kimbrough confirmed on Monday prosecutors declined to charge Matthew Melendez in April of 2012 because of a general feeling the office could not successfully prosecute the case.
"With the information that we had at the time, there was simply not a way to go forward with criminal charges then," she told 9News.
Court records suggest the boy's mother believes her son was then forced to apologize to Melendez. It's an allegation Valdez elementary school's former principal denied on Monday.
By May of this year, the alleged victim was back in Melendez' classroom at Valdez Elementary, according to court records. Denver Police believe the boy, 9, was then sexually assaulted in "a back hallway area" in June by Melendez.
"To think there was an initial outcry in April of 2012, and because we couldn't file charges at the time that it may have enabled this to happen again. It's very disturbing," Kimbrough said.
Kimbrough said prosecutors will once again look into the initial allegations from 2012 in an effort to see if they might be able to bring additional charges.
Denver Police believe, as of now, the only victim in this case is the 9-year old boy who attended Valdez's Intensive Day School, but say they are looking at Melendez's extensive role as a youth coach in an effort to make sure.
Melendez is listed as a seven-year coach with Denver Pirates baseball. His bio indicates he coached the Pirate's twelve and thirteen-year old boys. He has also worked part-time at Denver's Ashland Recreation Center and for Denver's PAL football league.
"At this point in time we believe this is the only case, but we would be remiss if we didn't look at all of the options out there," Denver police spokesperson Sonny Jackson said.
Peter Sheman was the principal at Valdez Elementary at the time of the alleged assaults.
He put out a statement on Monday that said, "All of the proper reporting procedures were followed by Valdez staff when the previous allegations were made in 2012. That reporting happened as soon as the school was aware of the allegations. The Denver Police Department and DPS Safety and Security did complete investigations. In the follow-up support that was provided to the student and his family, there was never any time when I or any Valdez staff attempted to compel the student to apologize."
Melendez is out in lieu of a $50,000 bond and is due back in court next month. Calls to his phone number were not immediately returned.
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