NBC10 Philadelphia - Deanna Durante
Police say Frank Mercon a teacher at Upper Perkiomen High School faces charges for failing to report the suspected rape of a 15-year-old student. NBC10's Deanna Durante reports.
Frank Mercon, a health teacher at Upper Perkiomen High School, was charged with failing to report suspected child abuse.
One of his students says she wrote a note to Mercon in 2010, telling him she was raped one year prior at Penn State Berks campus. The student was 15 at the time of the alleged rape and 17 years old when she claims she told her teacher what happened.
The student recently came forward to law enforcement authorities to report the alleged 2009 sexual assault.
The student says Mercon told her there was probably nothing to be done since it was over a year ago and there was no physical evidence. The student also says she and Mercon burned the note.
After investigating, the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office says Mercon never came forward to report the victim's alleged assault to law enforcement or child protective services, even though he's required to do so by law.
"Under the law, teachers have special legal obligations to report suspected abuse. 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,” said Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman in a release announcing Mercon's arrest.
Upper Perkiomen School district Superintendent Elizabeth Hammond Yonson, Ed.D. says the district assisted the District's Attorney's office during their two-month investigation. The district released this statement on Thursday.
The District does not comment on matters involving specific employees or students at the allegation stage. However, the safety of our students is our No. 1 concern. The District will do everything in its power to cooperate with this investigation and ensure the proper reporting of child abuse by its employees. The District has provided comprehensive in-service of professional staff and continue to train our employees to take very seriously their obligations to report child abuse of which they become aware.
If any parent, student or member of the school community has any questions or concerns, please contact the Office of the Superintendent at 215 541-2459.
Mercon has taught at the Upper Perkiomen School District for 16 years. He was arraigned and released on Thursday morning without having to post any bond money, according to court records.