Motion to reduce jail term is rejected

Ex-substitute teacher serving 18 months for abusing Key students

February 07, 2002|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

A Carroll County judge declined yesterday to immediately reduce the jail sentence of Kimberly Merson, a former substitute teacher convicted of having sexual contact with boys at Francis Scott Key High School, but said he would reconsider it later.

In a hearing Jan. 29, Merson, 25, of Union Bridge sought a reduction of her 18-month sentence on work release at Carroll County Detention Center. She has been allowed to go to her job as a receptionist and sales agent, to church and to see her psychiatrist.

Merson was accused of engaging in sexual activities with nine teen-age boys, including having sexual relations with some of them, during the 2000-2001 school year. She pleaded guilty Sept. 26 to four counts of child sexual abuse by a custodian, one third-degree sexual offense and six counts of contributing to certain conditions of a child by providing alcohol.

Defense attorney Richard D. Bennett asked that her sentence be reduced to six months, noting that Merson has been a model prisoner. Deputy State's Attorney Tracy A. Gilmore opposed the motion, arguing that Merson could have received up to 80 years in prison.

In a one-page decision, Circuit Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. wrote, "Although the court recognizes and commends the defendant for her good conduct in the period of time between sentencing and the timely request for modification of sentence, it is not willing at this time to reconsider the sentence imposed on Sept. 26, 2001."

Beck said he would not make a final ruling until later, upon a request by the defendant to revisit the motion.

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