NEW YORK -- Several members of Menudo, the baby-faced singing idols of the 1980s, were sexually abused and regularly plied with alcohol and drugs by three men who made millions off them, the New York Daily News reported Wednesday.
The New York Daily News said the allegations in what has become in Puerto Rico a sex, drug and financial scandal for the group were made by free-lance photographer Bolivar Arellano, a Menudo friend and Manhattan shop owner.
Arellano broadcast his charges during a May 9 broadcast of a popular talk-show in Puerto Rico, 'Controversy,' hosted by Carmen Jovet, the News said.
He said nine of the boys had been abused but were too ashamed or afraid to admit it publicly. Arellano pointed the finger of blame at promoter Edgardo Diaz, attorney Orlando Lopez and Jose Antonio Jimenez, president of Menudo's Panama-based holding company.
In another show in Puerto Rico on the scandal, a friend of the boys admitted participating in drug and sex parties with the group, and said the parties were organized by Diaz and the Menudo associates, the newspaper reported.
Diaz admitted there had been drug, sex and emotional problems in the group, but said he had not been directly involved, the News reported.
'These are kids who had serious emotional problems,' Diaz said. 'All the problems that are found in our society were also found in Menudo.'
A total of 28 boys have been part of Menudo since Diaz started the group in the late 1970s, requiring all its members be clean-cut and angelic, and retire at age 16.