DA: Montco teacher failed to report student rape

RED HILL, Pa. - October 4, 2012

The District Attorney's Office announced the arrest of Frank Mercon, a health teacher and coach at Upper Perkiomen High School.

According to investigators, the female victim told Mercon she had been raped by a student on the campus of Penn State - Berks back in 2009 when she was 15 years old..

She was still a minor when she reported the rape to Mercon in 2010, District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said.

According to an affidavit, the victim said "Mercon told her that he did not have to tell anybody" and that "there was probably nothing that we could do since it was over a year ago and there was no physical evidence."

"That was the wrong answer, the wrong thing to do for a whole lot of reasons," Ferman said.

The affidavit also says Mercon admitted to school officials he destroyed a note the student gave him detailing her attack. The affidavit read "Mercon admitted he had received the note from the victim in which she indicates she was date raped, and he kept the note until it was burned at the end of school when the victim graduated."

Action News was there as Mercon arrived for his arraignment at district court in Red Hill. When asked if he wishes, in hindsight, he had reported the rape, Mercon said "I can't comment at this time."

The incident only recently came to light in August of this year during an investigation into the rape by police in Berks County.

According to Ferman, at no time did Mercon report the victim's suspected sexual assault to any law enforcement or child protective services, violating his mandatory responsibilities as a teacher.

The D.A. said Mercon also admitted his failure to report the assault in a conversation with the principal of Upper Perkiomen High School.

The school district put a statement on its website at this time Mercon is still employed.

Mercon's attorney said they will fight the charges.

"We don't see these charges that often. I don't remember these charges brought in Montgomery County," said attorney Marc Neff.

Mercon has been charged with Failing to Report Suspected Child Abuse. Mercon was given $10,000 unsecured bail and ordered not to have contact with the victim.

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