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City man faces sex offense charges

November 07, 2003|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS & BRIAN SHAPPELL

gregs@herald-mail.com

shappell@herald-mail.com

Hagerstown City Police have charged a 22-year-old city man with sex offenses involving an 11-year-old girl, Washington County District Court records say.

It is the second time someone has been charged with sex offenses involving the girl this year.

Police charged Matthew David Mercer, 22, of 140 E. Franklin St., with second-degree rape, second-degree assault, and fourth-degree and third-degree sex offense.

Court documents say that the girl alleged to police that Mercer had intercourse with her in the bathroom of his apartment in early August.

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Police began investigating on Sept. 8 after a Department of Social Services employee told investigators she received a phone call in which the caller said the Hagerstown girl had been raped.

When police and a social worker met with the girl, she denied she had been raped, and denied she had had sex, court documents say.

On Sept. 24, police were notified that doctors at the Women's Health Center of Robinwood found the Hagerstown girl was approximately seven weeks pregnant, records say.

The girl told police that sometime in early August, she, her mother and brother spent the night at Mercer's apartment because Mercer was fixing the family's car and had not completed work on it, according to records.

Hagerstown City Police Detective Shane Blankenship said Mercer has no prior record.

Blankenship confirmed the girl was the same girl who miscarried a child in April, when she was 10. An investigation resulted in charges against a 15-year-old Hagerstown boy.

The boy later admitted in juvenile court to a fourth-degree sex offense in connection with having sexual contact with the girl.

Blankenship said Thursday the girl no longer was pregnant, and has been placed outside her home.

Blankenship said members of the Department of Social Services "are actively involved and are doing everything to correct this situation."

He said DNA material has been sent to a private lab in Baltimore for testing, but said he was not sure when the results would be available.

District Judge Ralph H. France set Mercer's bail at $50,000 at a Thursday bond review hearing. Mercer was being held Thursday evening at the Washington County Detention Center, a detention center spokeswoman said.

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