Former Cincinnati parish staffer faces allegations of grooming, sexual abuse in Wisconsin

Posted at 3:07 PM, Jun 26, 2024

MILWAUKEE, Wis. — A now-former parish staff member in Cincinnati is facing charges in Wisconsin connected to alleged grooming and sexual assault of a member of the Milwaukee Children's Choir he directed, according to court records filed Tuesday.

Fr. Alex McCullough, pastor of the Queen of Apostles Parish Family said in a letter to parishioners that Melendez was hired as the music director for Queen of Apostles Parish Family in February. McCullough said as of June 25, when the warrant for his arrest in Milwaukee was filed, he is no longer employed with the parish.

The Queen of Apostles parish family includes Our Lady of the Valley, Our Lady of the Rosary and St. James of the Valley, according to the parish website.

According to the letter from McCullough, Melendez went through the Archdiocese's mandated child protection requirements, including a criminal background check, and no prior charges nor convictions were revealed at the time he was hired in February.

"However, we were informed yesterday of criminal charges filed against Mr. Melendez in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, from alleged criminal activity between 2016 and 2019," reads the letter to parishioners. "Since the complaint detailing the charges was just filed on June 25, 2024, the allegations against Mr. Melendez did not appear on the background check we obtained before his February 2024 hire."

McCullough wrote that he is not aware of any allegations of criminal activity made against Melendez while he was with the Queen of Apostles Parish Family.

According to the court documents filed in Wisconsin, the alleged victim spoke with police in May.

The victim told police that when he was a minor, his parents put him in the Milwaukee Children's Choir, where the director was Marco Melendez, according to court documents. The alleged victim said Melendez would make inappropriate comments to the boys in the choir, including about him "hooking up with guys" and asking the boys about their sex lives, court documents say.

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