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'Menendez + Menudo: Boys Betrayed': Everything To Know About The Latin Pop Group

Former Menudo singer Roy Rosselló recently accused former RCA Records VP and murder victim José Menendez of drugging and raping him as a child in the new Peacock docuseries 'Menendez + Menudo: Boys Betrayed.' 

By Jax Miller

An era-defining boy band is back in the spotlight, with one member alleging a shocking connection to the infamous Menendez brothers, who were convicted for murdering their parents in 1989.

Jose and Mary Louise “Kitty” Menendez were shot to death in their Beverly Hills mansion on the night of Aug. 20, 1989, a sensationalized double homicide carried out by their sons, Lyle and Erik Menendez, then 21 and 18. The sons’ trials (both were tried twice) captivated the country during the 1990s due, in part, to the men’s affluent lifestyles and testimony that both suffered physical and sexual abuse at the hands of their father.

The juries of the first trial were deadlocked, while the second trial – which barred previous testimony attesting to José Menendez’s alleged abuse – ended with guilty verdicts. Lyle and Erik continue serving life sentences in a California prison without the possibility of parole.

The case garnered renewed interest in recent years, with many questioning whether the brothers’ convictions and sentences should be reassessed to factor in the alleged abuse and possible gender bias.

Recently, footage from the upcoming Peacock docuseries “Menendez + Menudo: Boys Betrayed” gave audiences a glimpse into new bombshell allegations from Roy Rosselló – part of the 1980s Puerto Rican pop band Menudo. Roselló alleges he was sexually abused by the late José Menendez. At the time of the alleged abuse, Menendez was an executive at RCA Records, one of the band’s record labels.

Roselló is accusing Jose of drugging and raping him at the Menendez’s New Jersey home when he was just 14 years old.

Menudo, hailed as one of the most successful boy bands of all time, was formed in Puerto Rico during the late ‘70s by music producer Edgardo Diaz. The band members over the years have regularly been replaced by new members, keeping up with the group’s youthful presentation and separating them from the likes of other traditional boy band lineups.

Menudo's Famous Singers

The music group “Menudo”

There have been about 50 members in total between Menudo and its spinoff groups.

The original five members consisted of Diaz’s three cousins, Carlos, Oscar, and Ricky Melendez, as well as brothers Fernando and Nefty Salaberry Valls, all between the ages of 9 and 13. Roy Rosselló joined the group in 1983 at the age of 13 – the same year Menudo joined RCA Records, according to the New York Times — "retiring" three years later.

The band would be the stepping stone for iconic Latin singer Ricky Martin, who joined the group in 1984 at age 12 and quit five years later, as well as singer Draco Rosa.

By the early 1980s, the group – no longer consisting of the original lineup in its entirety (all but one had retired by 1981) – found mainstream success with hits such as “Los Fantasmas” (1977), Chiquitita (1979), A Volar (1982), and Hold Me (1985), just to name a few.

They would come to be known as “the Hispanic Beatles,” with Billboard calling them “The Most Successful Latin Boy Band of All Time.”

Menudo had a devoted following, and a young one, at that. The New York Times wrote in 1984, “Menudomania is hardly the frenzied pop phenomenon it’s been cracked up to be,” calling it more of a “children’s group” than a “teen sensation” after a Menudo concert at Radio City Music Hall.

“Friday’s concert found far fewer love-crazed teeny-boppers than youngsters tugging on their parents,” wrote the New York Times. “The squeals in the audience were not the ear-splitting cries one hears at a Rick Springfield, or even a Barry Manilow concert, but the enthusiastic shrieks of the sort one used to hear for Howdy Doody.”

How Menudo Singers Are Chosen

Per the musicians’ initial contracts, the members would age out at 16 and be required to leave Menudo, something Rosselló referred to as the “Fountain of Youth strategy,” according to the New York Post. They wanted the boys to look as youthful as possible, with comanager and choreographer Jose Luis Vega telling the Washington Post in 1984, "We don't want them to do push-ups or anything like that so they won't develop too much."

Diaz added that they wanted their members to seem like innocent heartthrobs. "We look for a type of child that has 'angel,' " Diaz told the newspaper. "We also look carefully at the family; we want well-behaved children. An unstable family can cause us a lot of trouble."

Menudo Scandals

A still image of Menendez and Menudo: Boys Betrayed

In the early ‘90s, as the group’s success began to recede, the band’s legacy was overshadowed when photographer Bolivar Arellano alleged that former band members were abused by the band’s founder, Edgardo Diaz, the New York Daily News reported.

Allegations of many forms would continue throughout the years, including by Roy Rosselló.

Diaz has consistently denied all allegations of emotional, physical and sexual abuse and was never charged. The group continued sporadic appearances and concerts with varying members throughout the decades, reboots and TV specials included.

In 2022, HBO released a four-part docuseries, “Menudo: Forever Young,” featuring interviews with 13 former members, some alleging various types of abuse while in the band. Additionally, according to USA Today, singer Angelo Garcia — performing with Menudo from 1988 to 1990 — claimed he was “raped a series of times.”

Garcia didn’t say who abused him but claimed he was fed drugs and alcohol and woke up naked and bleeding after being “penetrated.”

“I had, like, these burn marks on my face from the rug,” said Garcia. “I was very confused and didn’t understand.”

New Accusations Revealed In Peacock Documentary "Menendez+Menudo: Boys Betrayed"

Roy Rosselló is now speaking out against murder victim José Menendez, as seen in a clip of Peacock’s “Menendez + Menudo: Boys Betrayed,” which aired on NBC Today.

Menudo signed a six-year, 12-album contract with RCA Records in 1983, when Menendez acted as RCA’s Division Vice President, according to the New York Times.

“America itself has become the largest Spanish market in the world, with record sales of $75 to $100 million,” Menendez said at the time. “Hispanics are the fastest-growing segment of the population, and by the year 2000, their numbers will have surpassed that of blacks in this country.”

Menendez would be murdered before the Menudo contract expired, setting off one of the country’s most sensationalized cases of all time.

Rosselló’s accusations have since garnered sympathy from the incarcerated Menendez brothers.

Menendez + Menudo: Boys Betrayed” premieres May 2 on Peacock.