WOODCLIFF LAKE — A Columbia University vice president was accused in Bergen County with sexual assault against a child under the age of 13.

Marcelo Velez, 56, of Woodcliff Lake, was charged on Monday, a day after police learned of the acts that took place at his home, according to prosecutors. The prosecutor did not disclose the suspect's relationship to the child.

According to the Columbia website, Velez has worked for the university since 1995 and has overseen over $1 billion worth of capital construction. His latest project was acting as the university's point person on all aspects of development, design and construction of the 6.8 million-square-foot expansion of Columbia's Manhattanville development as part of the expansion of the West Harlem campus.

"We have placed Mr. Velez on administrative leave and will cooperate fully with law enforcement officials investigating this matter," a university spokesperson told New Jersey 101.5 in an email.

Velez is charged with one count of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, two counts of second-degree sexual assault by contact and one count of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child. He was being held Tuesday at the Bergen County Jail pending a first court appearance.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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