Mercy High School sends out letter to parents amid former coach’s Child Abuse charges
BALTIMORE, MD – Mercy High School officials sent out a letter to parents following news of its former athletic coach being charged with child sexual abuse.
The statement says “we continue to be deeply upset as we learn additional information from media reports about our former part-time coach Ernest Jackson. The details of the charges against Mr. Jackson revealed in local news coverage early this evening are very disturbing to our entire community—our students, parents, faculty and staff, board, alumnae and friends.”
Officials say that Ernest Jackson was a part-time coach for indoor track, outdoor track and soccer. He coached at the school on a seasonal basis, beginning in November 2015 until last month. He is no longer a coach and he was reportedly banned from campus when the school learned of a report of abuse before Thanksgiving.
Jackson has reportedly been released on bail. School officials say “Student safety has been and always will be of paramount importance to us. I want you to know that in our hiring process we comply with all federal, state and local employment laws. All candidates for employment are interviewed, and their references are carefully checked. Candidates also undergo a fingerprint criminal background check through the FBI’s Criminal Justice Identification Services (C.J.I.S) Division.
The C.J.I.S. system provides automatic updates to the school if employees are subsequently charged with crimes flagged by the C.J.I.S system. The results of background checks are carefully reviewed. The school regularly provides safe environments training for child and youth protection to employees.
Our first responsibility is to the safety and privacy of our girls. We must balance transparency with student privacy, and I thank you for understanding and respecting this. In addition, because there is an ongoing criminal investigation that involves child sexual abuse, we are limited in what we can share, as we respect the legal process and must not interfere with an ongoing criminal case.”
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Baltimore Police’s Child Abuse Unit at 443-984-7378 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7LOCKUP.
Damian Merrick was facing two charges of child sexual assault after he was accused of raping two girls, but he was only found guilty on one count. He was also found guilty providing marijuana to the teen girls.
Jurors spent most of the day on Friday deliberating before reaching a guilty verdict.
Prosecutors argued that Merrick used alcohol and drugs to lure the teens during a team trip to Colorado.
Defense attorneys argued before the jury that Merrick had lost everything but his freedom. During closing arguments, the defense told the jury the state had left too much reasonable doubt. They pointed to inconsistent stories by two girls who testified Merrick sexually assaulted them when they were 16 and played on his volleyball team.
The jury deliberated for nearly 7 hours before reaching their verdict.
During closing arguments, attorneys from both sides made their points with the jury.
A Grapevine police detective testified Merrick had a sexual relationship with one of those girls for three months and raped a second girl in the bathroom at her friend’s house.
Merrick’s daughter tried to defend him. She spoke on his behalf and said he never gave her drugs or alcohol, but she broke down crying after prosecutors poked holes in her testimony.
The judge began testimony of the punishment phase of the trial Friday afternoon.
On August 27, 2015, Damian Merrick was given a trespass notice saying he was violating terms of his bond. This news article is from September 10, 2015, since that time Merrick has violated his bond 3 more times by being at the same location as his victims, and also being near Children. The 3rd time was just announced at 10:30 pm, November 11, 2015.
Dallas, TX – A man who used to own a volleyball club in Grapevine is accused of sexually assaulting three girls who played for his club, police say.
Damian Merrick, 48, has been arrested three times in the past year. His first arrest, on May 7, was on a charge of delivering marijuana to a child. Police tacked on a sexual assault charge in July, saying Merrick raped a 16-year-old girl in a bathroom at her Grapevine home while her parents were away, the Star-Telegram reported.
On Wednesday afternoon, authorities arrested Merrick on two more counts of sexual assault of a child. One of the new charges stipulates that he can’t bond out of jail.
Sgt. Robert Eberling, a spokesman for Grapevine police, said all three of the alleged victims were teenagers and members of the Grapevine Volleyball Club.
“He’s in a position where he had direct contact with the victims due to the nature of the business that he owned with his partners,” Eberling said. “That makes them [the athletes] certainly vulnerable in those circumstances.”
Merrick, who ran the club with other people, is no longer listed as an owner, Eberling said