Elementary school staffer charged with sexual assault on a child

8:01 PM, Aug 25, 2013   |    comments
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DENVER - A teacher's assistant at a Denver elementary school is charged with sexually assaulting a child.

The Denver School District released this information in a letter sent to parents Friday.

The letter said the employee is on unpaid leave and won't be "permitted" at the school.

9NEWS has learned 31-year-old paraprofessional Mathew Melendez worked in the Intensive Day School at Valdez Elementary. In the letter, DPS said Melendez has been charged with sex assault on a child by a person in a position of trust.

According to the letter, the incident is believed to have happened last year.

9NEWS has learned the victim was a boy, and a student at the school.

Further details of the case and Melendez's jail photo weren't available Sunday.

"It just brings up the topic that you need to be proactive and speak to your kids about these types of things," Kristen Speth said.

Speth has two kids at Valdez Elementary: a daughter in third grade and a son in first grade.

"It's very unnerving and concerning," Speth said. "I think every parent at every school has the same sort of fears every day because you always hear about these things in the news unfortunately but you try to do the best that you can and you teach your kids what to do."

Melendez was arrested August 2 and was shortly out on a $50,000 bond.

9NEWS called and texted Melendez to hear his side of the story, but he has not responded.

His criminal history has really nothing else on it, other than the sex assault on a child charge.

Melendez' first court appearance was August 16. 9NEWS asked DPS why it took the District 20 days since the arrest to send the letter to the parents.

In an emailed statement, the district said, "Once we were informed that charges were being filed, we put a communication together that would provide our families with as much information as possible and be able to offer as much support as we can. Given the charges involved in the case, we took the time to fact check and make sure the information we were providing was accurate. The letter was mailed to families as soon as were able to do that."

Speth told 9NEWS she was satisfied with how DPS handled the release of information in this case.

"I was surprised obviously you don't want to hear anything like this happening at your school or at any school really," Speth said. "But I was also impressed with the fact that they did send the letter and the communication that was included in the letter and just being proactive about it, not letting rumors get out of control. And just being very upfront and letting us know what they were doing about the situation."

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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