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.

John Scioli October 04, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Wow these public schools are really giving the Catholic Church a run for their money.
Jess October 04, 2012 at 09:37 PM
John, don't make such harsh judgments on a case you hardly know anything about. Mr. Mercon was my health teacher in high school, and I'm telling you, he always had students' best interest in mind. He was someone that you could go to about anything. Students would go to him with relationship problems, self-esteem issues, even things problems with drugs or alcohol, because he was always there to listen and gave great advice as someone who struggled through many things in high school. I don't know a single person who went through my high school that wouldn't consider him to be a favorite teacher, not just because he was funny and made class interesting, or because his stories were easy to relate to for so many students, but because he was genuinely concerned with making each and every student a better person, and I don't think a single student finished his 11th grade health class without a change in perspective on how to treat oneself or how to treat others. If Mr. Mercon knew something and kept it to himself, there is no doubt in my mind that it was for a damn good reason, and he would NEVER tell a student that there was nothing that could be done about her rape, because one of his biggest concerns has always been his morals and the safety of his students. If you could have met him yourself, you would know that this is a huge injustice, and something is terribly wrong. Sometimes people choose what's morally right over what's legally right. In my mind, he will always be a hero.
John Scioli October 05, 2012 at 12:35 AM
Bravo Jess with no last name bravo.... It is ashame that was not your golden globe performance nomination. I take it you are a drama student .
John Scioli October 05, 2012 at 12:38 AM
Jess . You joined patch.com today . I find it odd is all . Perhaps you are not really Jess . I'm sure you are a family member trying to protect the good family name . I mean no harm I merely exercised my Constitutional right to formulate a statement. Thank you Jess with no last name .
John Scioli October 05, 2012 at 12:40 AM
Jess you should look for a career as a publicist. You write very well and tell a very convincing story . Perhaps Mr. Mercon may need your services .
Jess October 05, 2012 at 05:43 AM
I signed up for Patch today because I saw your comment and it infuriated me! I didn't put my last name because I'm a paranoid teenager and didn't find it necessary. I'm not a family member, I'm a student who was highly impacted by this teacher, who is in fact a remarkable man. If you have any question as to his character, maybe you should refer to this page. See what the 1200+ people who liked it in the last 12 hours have to say about him. .http://www.facebook.com/pages/We-Love-Mr-Mercon/452544571451280
John Scioli October 05, 2012 at 11:29 AM
No you write too well for a paranoid teenager. Instead of showing us a link for a facebook page why not let your identity be known . There is no teen age student that writes so eloquently as you do "Jess" . Nice try though . So spin me another yarn .
John Scioli October 05, 2012 at 11:33 AM
Also a student up at 1:43 AM to write such an elongated comment back on a school night ? No not buying the student thing .
Nick Matregrano October 05, 2012 at 11:48 AM
Your are right Jess, I'm sure he is a great teacher to have left the kind of impression he has on you and other students, however, as educators we have a responsibility to report to administration any acitvities that may or has caused harm to another student. This is truly a shame.
John Scioli October 05, 2012 at 12:20 PM
Thank you Nick . The point is that he did not inform authorities of this report .
Jess October 05, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Jess Rubin, happy? College freshman with no Friday classes until 12:30 and no reason to go to sleep early. I appreciate that you think I write too well to be 18, though. I was an AP English student in high school. I had to write far more eloquently than this to pass my writing classes.
Thumper1 October 05, 2012 at 03:28 PM
John, I agree with you. What the heck is wrong with our teachers these days. They have the OBLIGATION of keeping our children safe while in their custody during the day. Not to mention Teachers TOUCHING our children in the first place. They're supposed to feel safe there. Between the sexual contact from so called Adult Teachers and the bullying it's no wonder parents want to home school more and more.
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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