Marcelo Velez, a Vice President of University Facilities at Columbia University, was charged for allegedly sexually assaulting a minor in his home, according to a statement from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office.
Velez, 56, of Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, was arrested at his home Monday, January 4, 2021. The previous day, Woodcliff Lake Police received a report indicating Velez sexually assaulted a child under 13 at his home, according to a statement provided to Heavy from the prosecutor’s office.
He was placed on administrative leave from the university, according to a Columbia University statement provided to Heavy.
Here’s what you need to know:
Velez Worked for Columbia University Since 1995 & Was the ‘Point Person’ on Construction for the West Harlem Campus Expansion
The Columbia University website indicates Velez worked for the University since 1995.
A university spokesperson said in a statement provided to Heavy that Velez was placed on administrative leave, and that the university is cooperating with law enforcement.
“We have placed Mr. Velez on administrative leave and will cooperate fully with law enforcement officials investigating this matter,” the statement said.
The statement from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office lists Velez as “Vice President of University Facilities” without naming the University. His Columbia University profile details his accomplishments with the university.
“Marcelo Velez is the Vice President for Manhattanville Development at Columbia University. He serves as the University’s point person on all aspects of development, design and construction of the University’s 6.8 million sq. foot Manhattanville in West Harlem campus expansion,” the website says.
He held multiple positions at the university with “increasing responsibilities” over his time at Columbia, exceeding two decades.
“In a prior position as Associate Vice President for Capital Project Management for the Morningside Campus, Marcelo managed a design and construction staff of over 40 and was responsible for a portfolio of active projects budgeted at over half a billion dollars,” the university website says. “He has been with Columbia’s Manhattanville Development Group since 2007, first as Associate Vice President for Project Management and Construction before becoming Vice President in 2016. Over the years, he has managed, supervised, or otherwise presided over $1 billion worth of capital construction.”
Velez earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Rutgers University and his master’s degree from Columbia. He also served on the advisor board for the ACE Mentorship Program, Columbia University’s School of Continuing Education’s new master’s degree program in Construction Administration, and as Vice Chair of the Greater New York Construction User Council, the website said.
Velez Is Behind Bars Facing Charges Including Aggravated Sexual Assault
Velez was arrested after the Woodlake Police Department received a report on Sunday, January 3, accusing him of sexually assaulting a child in his home. He is charged with one count of Aggravated Sexual Assault, two counts of Sexual Assault By Sexual Contact, and one count of Endangering The Welfare Of A Child. He is jailed pending his first court appearance, according to a statement from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office.
The statement said in full:
Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella announced the arrest of MARCELO VELEZ (DOB: 09/06/1964; married; Vice President of University Facilities) of 43 Woodland Drive, Woodcliff Lake, NJ on charges of Aggravated Sexual Assault, Sexual Assault By Sexual Contact and Endangering The Welfare Of A Child. The arrest is the result of a joint investigation conducted by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office under the direction of Chief Robert Anzilotti and the Woodcliff Lake Police Department under the direction of Chief John
On Sunday, January 3, 2021, the Woodcliff Lake Police Department received information that MARCELO VELEZ engaged in sexual acts with a child under the age of 13 while in Woodcliff Lake, NJ. At that time, Woodcliff Lake Police contacted the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit, and the ensuing investigation revealed that the sexual acts occurred in VELEZ’s residence in Woodcliff Lake.
As a result of the investigation, on Monday, January 4, 2021, MARCELO VELEZ was arrested at his residence by the Woodcliff Lake Police Department. He was charged with one count of Aggravated Sexual Assault, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2a(1), a 1st degree crime; two counts of Sexual Assault By Sexual Contact, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2b, a 2nd degree crime; and one count of Endangering The Welfare Of A Child, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4a(1), a 2nd degree crime. VELEZ was remanded to the Bergen County Jail pending his first appearance in Central Judicial Processing Court in Hackensack, NJ.
Prosecutor Musella states that the charges are merely accusations and that the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and he would like to thank the Woodcliff Lake Police Department for its assistance in this