The preliminary hearing of Upper Perkiomen High School Teacher Frank Mercon, who has been charged with failing to report child abuse after a student allegedly told him she was sexually assaulted, was unexpectedly bumped up from Friday to Wednesday of this week - changing plans for students and local residents who were planning on attending to show their support.
Over 1700 community members, including present and former students, parents, and friends of Mercon, were making their plans to attend the hearing in the public Facebook group, "We Love Mr. Mercon".
The hearing, which was scheduled for 3:00 today in front of District Justice Catherine Hummel Fried in Red Hill, was turned into a Facebook "event" and had over 200 confirmed attendees.
Mercon, a health teacher and varsity baseball coach, allegedly failed to report the sexual assault of a minor to authorities. According to District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman, Mercon allegedly admitted his failure to report to the UPHS principal.
"We all have the moral and ethical obligation to protect children," said Ferman. "Teachers who learn information about sexual abuse of children must share that information promptly."
This "We Love Mr. Mercon" group, which has made a point to be respectful of the student in question and the legal process, planned to atttend the hearing en masse to show support for the teacher.
"This is not meant to be a protest," said the "We Love Mercon" administrator of the planned presence at the hearing. "There is nothing to protest; what we are doing is showing our support."
Group members created t-shirts in support of Mercon, and were selling them for $10 each. The group coordinated multiple dates for community members to pay for and pick up their t-shirts, which they were planning to wear today.
One member of the group suggested putting together a box of letters, cards, and photos to give to Mercon.
There has been no news regarding if the group will attend the next step of the judicial process, which is a formal arraignment in Norristown.
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