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Hagerstown man charged with first-degree rape

August 03, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

HAGERSTOWN -- A Hagerstown man has been charged with first-degree rape in connection with allegations that a woman was forced to have sex against her will in a Valley Mall parking lot over the weekend, according to Washington County District Court records.

The woman alleged she was punched in the head during the attack, became unconscious and woke up unclothed in a row of bushes in the parking lot, court records say.

Robert L. Mercer, 52, of 140 W. Franklin St., who also was charged with first-degree sex offense and second-degree assault in the attack, was being held without bond in the Washington County Detention Center Monday afternoon, officials said.

The string of events started about 2 p.m. Friday after the woman and her husband had lunch at the "Mission" on West Potomac Street, according to a complaint filed by Deputy C. Barnes of the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

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The couple walked outside and met a friend known as "Charlie," who asked the couple if they wanted to have a couple of beers and hang out, the complaint says.

Mercer was a passenger in Charlie's 1995 Chevrolet Blazer, the complaint says.

The woman and her husband, who met Mercer at a bus stop on Washington Street a week earlier, climbed into the Blazer, Barnes wrote.

The group went to a bar, then, at about 6 p.m., went to a residence on Kuhn Avenue, where the victim and her husband live, Barnes wrote. There, they continued drinking for several more hours, and at about 2 a.m., the woman agreed to accompany Mercer and Charlie to a convenience store to buy cigarettes, the complaint says.

Instead of driving to a convenience story, they wound up at Valley Mall, court papers allege.

Court papers allege that Mercer climbed into the back seat with the woman, grabbed her wrists and made a sexually suggestive comment.

The woman screamed and Mercer punched her in the right temple, the complaint alleges.

The woman said she fell unconscious and woke up unclothed in the bushes in the parking lot, the complaint says.

Two Hagerstown Police Department officers took Mercer into custody Sunday after he was spotted at Washington County Hospital, Barnes said.

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