Convicted killers Lyle and Erik Menendez claimed they murdered their parents in self-defense after suffering years of emotional abuse and sexual assault at the hands of their father. Now, they aren’t the only ones making such accusations. A former member of the boy band Menudo alleges José Menendez, the boy’s father, also targeted him.
Roy Rosselló, 51, says in the upcoming docuseries Menendez + Menudo: Boys Betrayed that José Menendez molested him while he was a teenage member of the group in the mid-1980s.
After the juries deadlocked in their first trials, Lyle and Erik Menendez were found guilty of first-degree murder in 1996 for the gruesome shooting deaths of José and their mother, Mary Louise “Kitty” Menendez, inside their Beverly Hills home on August 20, 1989. The brothers, who admitted to the killings on tape, claimed their father had sexually abused them since childhood and that their mother enabled it. Their legal team argued they acted in self-defense out of fear their parents would kill them if they made their abuse public.
The Menendez brothers are currently serving life in prison without parole, but the documentary—which streams May 2 on Peacock—is already putting the spotlight back on their trials that captured the country’s attention.
What Are the New Allegations?
Rosselló, who performed in Menudo from age 13 through 16 according to NBC’s Today, previously claimed in 2014 that band founder and manager Edgardo Díaz sexually abused him. Díaz has refused to comment when asked about the allegations.
But according to Rosselló, Díaz also organized a visit to José Menendez’s home in New Jersey when the singer was only 14. There, he alleges, Menendez drugged and raped him.
“I know what he did to me in his house,” Rosselló says in a clip from the docuseries. In another scene, he points to Menendez in a photograph and says, “That’s the man, here, that raped me. This guy. That’s the pedophile.”
In another segment, Erik Menendez seems to corroborate that Rosselló and José were alone together. Speaking on the phone with journalist Robert Rand, he says he remembers an instance when his father, who was in charge of selecting new members for Menudo, led a boy to an upper floor of their house so that they could talk alone. He doesn’t name the boy nor discuss what happened after.
Rand was a reporter at the brothers’ trial and has spent about three decades interviewing key witnesses and sources. He wrote the 2018 book The Menendez Brothers: The Shocking Untold Story of the Menendez Family and the Killings that Stunned the Nation about the case.
What Does This Mean for the Brothers?
Erik and Lyle Menendez were tried separately in 1993. However, two hung juries resulted in mistrials. Defense testimony about sexual assault was then limited for the brothers’ second trial, which began in 1995 and ultimately led to their convictions.
Lyle Menendez bluntly states in a clip from the docuseries that these new claims from Rosselló would have made an “enormous” difference in their legal proceedings.
In 2017, a cousin named Diane Vander Molen told ABC News she believed Lyle and Erik—who were 21 and 18, respectively, at the time of the murders—were abused by both of their parents. “I know that they would never, ever have done what they did unless they felt they had no choice,” she said.
The brothers, now age 55 and 52, have already exhausted their appeals, but Rosselló’s allegations offer faint hope they may one day be freed. Criminal defense attorney Alan Jackson told Today the brothers must first file a petition to be reviewed by a superior court judge. The judge must then grant a new trial, which the defense team would need to win.
In the docuseries clip, Erik Menendez says the new developments add sadness to the already complex family tragedy. “To be honest, I feel horrible,” Erik says. “It’s sad to know there was another victim of my father. You know, I always hoped and believed that one day the truth about my dad would come out, but I never wished for it to come out like this.”
Tyler Piccotti joined the Biography.com staff in 2023, and before that had worked almost eight years as a newspaper reporter and copy editor. He is a graduate of Syracuse University, an avid sports fan, a frequent moviegoer, and trivia buff.