May 3, 2023
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has launched a criminal investigation into sexual assault allegations against the founder of Menudo, the Puerto Rican boy band. The Los Angeles Times reported that a former teenage member of the international music group has accused Edgardo Díaz, Menudo’s founder, of sexual assault occurring in the 1980s.
Allegations of “rampant rape” and “physical abuse” against Diaz came to light with the release of a 2022 HBO Max documentary series, “Menudo: Forever Young.” USA Today reported that the series examines allegations of physical, sexual, and mental abuse committed by Díaz, in addition to grueling schedules and a lack of parental oversight.
As the Los Angeles Times reported, the investigation by the LAPD is the first criminal proceeding by law enforcement involving Menudo and its creator. The LAPD’s interest centers around an attack that allegedly occurred at the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, according to the Times.
“We can confirm a report was taken and it is an ongoing investigation,” an LAPD spokesperson said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. “Due to victim confidentiality the department is unable to provide further.”
The sexual assault allegations were reportedly made by former Menudo star Roy Rosselló, who the Times noted was part of the teen-pop band during the height of its international popularity in the 1980s.
Rosselló had come forward years earlier to allege sexual assault by Diaz. Those claims have reportedly garnered newfound attention from the public due to the release of a Peacock docuseries “Menendez + Menudo: Boys Betrayed,” which looks into the allegations of abuse within the band. In addition to abuse allegations against Diaz, the series examines an alleged connection to Jose Menendez, the former RCA music executive who was murdered in 1989 by his two sons, Lyle and Erik Menendez (the Menendez brothers also fatally shot their mother, Mary Louise “Kitty” Menendez, in the family’s Beverly Hills mansion).
“In the last episode of the three-part docuseries, Rosselló recounts a visit to the Biltmore Hotel during a trip to L.A. Menudo was staying at the hotel, and Rosselló says he and other teenage members of the band rented a second room for girls, who were the same age as they were,” the Los Angeles Times said.
In the series, Rosselló states that Díaz punched him repeatedly when he found out about the girls. Shortly thereafter, Díaz allegedly took Rosselló to another room, “tied him to the bed, beat him with a wet towel, and raped him,” the Times reported.
Allegations made by Rosselló in the docuseries include:
“That’s the man here that raped me,” Rosselló says in the docuseries, pointing to a picture of the group accompanied by Menendez. “That’s the pedophile.”
The former boy band member alleged the abuse happened on a regular basis during his time with Menudo. Robert Rand, a journalist who reported the story in the docuseries, told the Times that it was unclear whether Rosselló would seek to report more alleged instances of abuse and assault in other jurisdictions.
“Roy may have filed criminal charges in Los Angeles so far, but he says he was sexually assaulted in cities across the U.S. and around the world,” Rand told the Los Angeles Times.
Díaz, the alleged serial predator, was the creator of Menudo, which he founded in 1977. The band grew to worldwide stardom and toured for decades, eventually being dissolved in 2009. USA Today reported that Díaz established an official rule that, “once a [Menudo] member reached his 16th birthday, he was booted for a young replacement.”
In the HBO docuseries, another former Menudo member, Angelo Garcia, says he was “raped a series of times” during his tenure in the band from 1988 to 1990.
13 former band members were interviewed for “Menudo: Forever Young,” with perhaps the most well-known of the group – Ricky Martin – not participating.
California legislators recently proposed Assembly Bill 452 (AB 452), which would permanently remove the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse civil lawsuits. If AB 452 were to become law, California survivors of childhood sex abuse would be able to file civil claims for damages without being bound to any deadline.
The proposed AB 452 is similar to a recent federal law that took effect – the Eliminating Limits to Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims Act. Also known as Federal Bill S. 3103, the Eliminating Limits to Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims Act of 2022 officially removes the federal statute of limitations to file a civil action for minor victims of:
AB 452 would also encompass all forms of child sexual violence. The bill was introduced by California Assemblymember Dawn Addis and Senator Nancy Skinner. Following the bill’s introduction, the elected officials released the following statement noting how a statute of limitations can often impede justice in a child sex abuse case:
“It’s unacceptable and cruel that many California victims of childhood sex abuse are unable to hold their abusers accountable because our law now says their time has run out. AB 452 will right this wrong by eliminating the deadline for taking civil action against child abusers and those who aided or allowed the abuse to happen or covered it up.”
24 states have enacted some type of legislation for survivors of child sexual abuse to pursue justice and sue for damages. California and New York both passed revival windows – limited periods for survivors of child sex abuse to filc claims – in 2020. Maryland passed landmark legislation last month – the Child Victims Act – which eliminated statute of limitations on child sex crimes.
For more information on California AB 452, please click here.
For more information on which states have enacted revival windows, please click here.
Dordulian Law Group (DLG) is a California-based child sexual abuse firm representing survivors across the nation. With a team of aggressive and dedicated attorneys led by former sex crimes prosecutor and Deputy D.A. for Los Angeles County, Sam Dordulian, DLG is a leading firm with proven results for survivors:
Our law firm in Glendale, CA advocates for victims of sexual assault, injury, employment disputes, and personal injury concerns.