WOODCLIFF, N.J. — A vice president at Columbia University has been arrested and placed on administrative leave after being accused of sexually assaulting a child under the age of 13 at his New Jersey home, officials say.
Marcelo Velez, 46, was taken into custody Monday by the Woodcliff Lake Police Department. He is facing one count of aggravated sexual assault, one count of endangering the welfare of a child and two counts of sexual assault by sexual contact, according to the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office.
The office said in a statement that police on Sunday received information that Velez “engaged in sexual acts with a child under the age of 13” and following an investigation, it was determined that the alleged acts happened inside his residence in Woodcliff Lake.
Velez, Columbia’s Vice President for Manhattanville Development, is now being held at a local jail pending a court appearance, Fox News reported.
“We have placed Mr. Velez on administrative leave and will cooperate fully with law enforcement officials investigating this matter,” a spokesperson from the Ivy League school said, NBC New York reported.
A profile of Velez on Columbia University’s website describes him as its “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.”
Velez began working at Columbia University in 1995.
Velez holds a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University, a Master of Business Administration from Columbia and is a licensed professional engineer in New York.