General Crime

* Michael Merrick Lafayette middle school teacher who allegedly molested a child charged

Prosecutors filed charges today against a Lafayette middle school teacher who allegedly molested a child during private tutoring sessions, Deputy District Attorney Dara Cashman said.Michael Merrick, a 47-year-old Lafayette resident, has been charged with 14 counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a child age 14 or 15; one count of sexual penetration of a child under 16; two counts of distribution of material harmful to a minor, in this case sending images of a sexual nature via text messages; and one misdemeanor count of child molestation, Cashman said.According to police, Merrick tutored children privately at Stanley Middle School and was a youth sports coach.On Monday, police received reports of molestation at the school. The victim told police the molestation occurred during tutoring sessions and also involved sexual text messages.Merrick was arrested Wednesday, police said. His bail has been set at more than $3 million.He is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Contra Costa County Superior Court.Detectives said they believe Merrick might have molested other suspects given the number of students he is in contact with at the school. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Berch Parker at (925) 299-3222.

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