Recreation league coach admits sex abuse of boys

February 19, 1993|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

Richard T. Mercer, a 46-year-old Westminster recreation league football coach, pleaded guilty yesterday to two counts of child sexual abuse and one count of furnishing alcohol to a minor.

The two incidents occurred last fall with two teen-age boys whom Mercer had met as a coach and umpire. The names of the victims are being withheld to protect their privacy.

In exchange for Mercer's guilty plea before Carroll Circuit Court Judge Luke K. Burns Jr., the state dropped 13 of the 16 original charges. Of those 13, four related to a single incident, said Assistant State's Attorney Kathi Hill.

The rest were lesser abuse charges that would have been merged into those to which Mercer pleaded guilty, she said.

The state also agreed not to pursue the cases of four more alleged victims, Ms. Hill said.

"There was a seduction period," Ms. Hill said. "He [Mercer] had them over to his house several times and nothing happened, so they trusted him. Then, when something happened, they didn't know quite what to do."

The police statement of facts in support of the plea said Mercer had offered the boys work with his trash-removal service. In each case, he told the boy that the work would be early in the morn

ing, so the boy should spend the night at Mercer's home so he wouldn't disturb his family by getting up early.

The boys were given alcohol and told that other boys they knew who had spent the night at Mercer's home on Daniel Drive always slept with him. Once the boy was in bed, Mercer fondled him, the statement said.

In the second incident, the boy left the bed, called his mother and asked her to pick him up outside Mercer's home.

When the boy left the house, he pulled the license tags off Mercer's truck and took them with him "so he [Mercer] couldn't attack or get ahold of me," the statement said. The boy's parents took him immediately to the Westminster police station, where he filed a statement.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 1.

Ms. Hill said the state intends to ask for a 15-year sentence with seven years suspended. The state will also ask for five years of supervised probation and ask the court to order the defendant to pay for his victims' counseling.

"He [Mercer] has been evaluated and is in active therapy with one of the best sexual disorder therapists in the state," said defense attorney Daniel H. Green about his client. "The results of that therapy will be presented to the judge at the sentencing hearing."

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