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Upper Perk Teacher Charged with Failure to Report Suspected Child Abuse

High school health teacher and varsity baseball coach Frank R. Mercon, of Upper Frederick, allegedly failed to report the suspected sexual assault of one of his students.

Upper Perkiomen High School Health Teacher and Varsity Baseball Coach Frank R. Mercon, of Upper Frederick, was arraigned this morning after allegedly failing to report the sexual assault of a minor student to authorities, according to a press release from District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman.

A Montgomery County Detectives' investigation revealed that a minor victim reported a 2009 sexual assault to Mercon, who allegedly told the victim that nothing could be done because so much time had passed since the assault and that he didn't have to tell anyone about the incident, according Ferman.

The release stated that Mercon allegedly failed to report the victim's suspected sexual assault to any child protective or law enforcement services, which is required as a teacher.

According to Ferman, the investigation allegedly found that Mercon admitted his failure to report the assault in a conversation with the principal of Upper Perkiomen High School.

"We all have the moral and ethical obligation to protect children," said Ferman.  "The charges filed today reflect a serious failure to protect a teenage girl by a person she trusted.  Teachers who learn information about sexual abuse of children must share that information promptly."

The reported sexual assault was investigated by Berks County Detectives, who then contacted Montgomery County officials after the victim reported her alleged conversation with Mercon, according to Ferman.

Mercon was arraigned before Catherine M. Hummel Fried.

Jess October 05, 2012 at 03:31 PM
I agree that he made a mistake, and didn't technically do his job as he was supposed to... But seeing this story twisted like this making my favorite high school teacher out to be such a horrible person, someone who wouldn't do everything in his power to help someone when everyone who has had him knows it's quite the opposite? It's just frustrating. I feel like the least I can do is let people know what kind of person he really is, since this story hardly lets on to that.
Marques Roberts October 05, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Jess i totally agree with you. He was my lifting and strength coach in my senior year at UPHS. i totally know where you're coming from. People fail to realize there is his side, her side and then there is the truth. Right now we are only hearing one side. Do not let John instigate you into any further rebuttals. He is definitely no Joe Pat. This entire thing is still in the allegations stage so we shall see. BTW i was just at UPHS on Friday to visit my old football coaches from 10 years ago lol. But anyhow, I'm sure mercon will be fine. They're just trying to make an example. Frankly it happened 3 years ago and this article didn't make any inclination of it being on ongoing abuse but more of an incident that happened after the statute of limitations had arrived. Keep in mind this is a traumatized child victim so how she perceived a conversation maybe different than how it actually happened so lets not make a any assumptions just yet. And John just so I don't get flack about not having a name. It's "Marques Roberts" class of 2003
. October 05, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Teachers are well informed about the mandated reporting rules. He deserves to be fired. Period.
Elizabeth October 06, 2012 at 02:42 AM
No, teachers do not have an obligation to keep anyone safe while they are outside of the school except for their own families. They can tell children what the right way to go about reporting such things are, but it is ultimately up to the victims and their families to see through on these matters. They have an obligation to teach children and young adults what they need to know to get into college or possible a technical field, and also to pass standardized test, because we all know how they actually measure what a student is capable of (said no one ever). Just because the law says that these teachers are mandated to report such things, I do not agree with all circumstances being the same. Was this girl in imminent danger? Was this girl being abused at the time of the report? Did this girl want it to be reported and have to face police officers, parents, judgement of people who blame a victim? Was this a 6 year old who did not understand how to go about getting the help she needed? Do any of you know what the actual circumstances of this situation are? No, you don't because they have not been made public yet. So place your judgement somewhere else, and I bet the government is glad to hear what law abiding citizens you are! Nothing will ever have to change because the law is the law, right? Ever hear of challenging the law and changing the law so that justice is actually served??
Tina P October 12, 2012 at 05:16 PM
How is justice served when people who work with children do not report when they have reasonable casue to suspect abuse? How is justice served when too much time has passed to gather sufficuent evidence to prosecute the rapist? How is justice served when the public hasn't been protected? Look at the bigger picture.

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