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Merrick Pleads Guilty to Six Felony Counts; Sentenced to State Prison

Days before his scheduled court trial, former Lafayette schoolteacher Michael Merrick entered a guilty plea to six felony counts of lewd acts with a minor.

Former Stanley Middle School teacher Michael Merrick ended a city's speculation and may have eased a family's pain with an eleventh hour plea agreement that will see him sent to state prison for molesting a female student under his tutelage in 2010.

Merrick, 48, was scheduled for court trial on the charges Monday. Instead, he pleaded guilty to six felony counts in court Friday and was sentenced to five years and eight months in prison. He will be required to register as a sex offender.

The popular and respected teacher was arrested in October 2010 after admitting to letting a relationship with a 14-year-old girl "get out of hand" during private tutoring sessions on school property.

Investigators determined that the teacher had sent hundreds of text messages to the victim and eventually initiated a physical relationship with her.

On Friday, the former teacher told the court he took full responsibility for the molestation, and apologized to the victim and the community for violating a position of trust, Deputy District Attorney Johanna Schonfield said.

Merrick was ordered to pay restitution to the victim and to register as a lifetime sex offender.

He will be on parole upon his release from prison.

 

Bay City News Service contributed to this report

Shannon W. February 12, 2012 at 08:33 PM
@ lovelafayette - Stanley students, parents and teachers need to be warned and perhaps reminded that even a teacher who, as Maggie so sadly thought was her "only positive influence at Stanley" and a "favorite teacher" can be, unbeknownst to that student and the community, a creep and pedophile who could damage lives. And as Eliz said - it's not a lie - he was a former Stanley Middle School Teacher.
lovelafayette June 19, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Wonder how Merrick got off so easy? Clayton middle school teacher very similar case just got 9 years, Moraga Correa 8. Merrick was clearly the worst of the 3 as he continued the psychological abuse for 2 additional years by not pleading guilty to begin with, fostering mean spirited gossip and doubts by some in the community about the victims truthfulness. Rich family, expensive attorney bought a gag order, closed proceedings, get out of jail 4 years early card. Justice, no.
Mack Sennet June 19, 2012 at 03:38 PM
Better justice than that received by the victims of Debra Lafave and Mary Kay Latourneau.
Carol Carrillo September 27, 2012 at 11:22 PM
Our job as community members is to protect children. The best way to do so is to educate ourselves about child abuse and how to prevent it! Education is Prevention!. The Child Abuse Prevention Council of Contra Costa County works every day to prevent child sexual abuse before it happens. Visit our website to learn more. Carol Carrillo, MSW
lovelafayette October 19, 2012 at 04:02 PM
This is important to children in Lafayette, but not to Patch! CCT: "Lafayette School District employees received complaints of a popular Stanley Middle School teacher fondling female students before the teacher's 2010 arrest for sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl, according to a civil suit filed in Contra Costa Superior Court. The school district, Superintendent Fred Brill, Stanley Principal David Schrag and former teacher Michael Merrick are being sued by the girl who Merrick was found guilty of sexually abusing in his classroom over a four-month period. The lawsuit, filed in March, asks for money for past and future medical expenses, a punitive award and general damages. Rick Madsen, attorney for the victim and her parents, alleges in the civil complaint that Merrick had a known history of "inappropriate contact with female students." "In particular ... Brill, Schrag and the district and its employees had received complaints about Merrick in the past and were informed and knew, or reasonably should have known, that Merrick had previously and repeatedly touched and fondled other female students at Stanley Middle School," Madsen wrote. He alleged that employees failed to report the abuse as required by mandated reporting laws. "We are not prepared to comment on the likelihood of other victims," Madsen said in a phone interview. "The bottom line is, if the Lafayette School District had enforced their own rules, this would have never happened, and that's unconscionable." "

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