Upper Perk HS teacher Frank Mercon didn't report suspected child abuse, police say

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Published: Oct 04 2012 02:02:39 PM EDT   Updated On: Oct 05 2012 07:14:48 AM EDT
Frank Mercon
PENNSBURG, Pa. -

A high school teacher in Montgomery County has been arrested on charges he failed to report a suspected case of sexual assault involving one of his students on the Berks campus of Penn State University, officials said.

The student was a junior at Upper Perkiomen High School in Pennsburg in the fall of 2010 when she told Frank R. Mercon, a health teacher at the school, that she had been date-raped on the campus in Spring Township in the fall of 2009, according to court documents.

Mercon told the student, who was 15 at the time of the alleged assault, that nothing could be done because so much time had passed, and he didn't have to tell anyone about her report of the assault, officials said.

Mercon also admitted he didn't report the assault in a conversation with the high school principal.

The victim recently reported what happened to detectives with the Berks County district attorney's office.

As a teacher, Mercon was mandated to report the victim's suspected sexual assault to any law enforcement or child protective services, said Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman.

"Under the law, teachers have special legal obligations to report suspected abuse," Ferman said. "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."

Mercon, 39, was charged with failing to report suspected child abuse.