Accuser in 'jock itch' case involving former A&M football player speaks out about incident, criticizes school


One of the accusers in a 2017 case involving a former Texas A&M football player convicted of indecent exposure opened up about the incident and the university’s handling of the case.

In Oct. 2016, Romere was a university tutor when she said Merritt exposed himself during a tutoring session with her and starting masturbating. Romere said Merritt also did a similar act in front of another female tutor earlier that day.

Both women filed police reports. At the time, both accusers were unnamed since The News generally does not name victims of sexual crimes.

Merritt’s attorney claimed the incident was a result of “jock itch.” According to Romere, A&M’s conduct review panel said while they believed her account, he couldn’t be found responsible for his actions because of the infection.

“They said they were sorry I was ‘offended’ but there was nothing they could do,” said Romere, who said she quit her tutoring job after the hearing. “The semester had come to an end, and I couldn’t stomach returning to a building where he might turn up.”

Romere and the other woman appealed. She said the incident was downgraded from sexual exploitation to sexual harassment, which prevented the women from finding the final result of the appeal ruling.

According to A&M’s athletic department, Merritt’s temporary suspension was lifted after the university’s conduct process ended. In 2017, Merritt participated in spring practice.

However, he did not participate in the school’s spring game, which was one day after Merritt’s case was first reported. The football coach at the time, Kevin Sumlin, broke protocol and did not meet with the media after game, citing a schedule conflict.

Merritt was quietly removed from the football team’s roster and transferred to East Mississippi Community College. In Aug. 2017, he pleaded no contest to two counts of misdemeanor indecent exposure and was sentenced to two years of probation and 40 hours of community service. Merritt recently signed with Arkansas State in February, his fourth school since 2015.

Romere’s post about the event is one of several about their experiences dealing with the university regarding their alleged sexual assaults. Many of the posts have been critical of A&M’s punishments for those found responsible.

Earlier this week, a Twitter post from an A&M female student about a A&M men’s swim and dive player who was returned to competition for the Aggies after being found responsible of sexual assault by the school’s conduct panel went viral. The woman said the athlete was only suspended for a semester.

On Monday, the university issued a statement that said privacy laws prohibit school officials from commenting on specific cases. Those cases, A&M said, are handled on an individual basis.

In her post, Romere said the school must address an issue that has been addressed by many this week.

“The administration at Texas A&M has a priority problem, and until they realize that the safety and well-being of ordinary students matters just as much as the skill of their athletes, stories like this will become the norm,” Romere said.

Romere’s full statement that she posted on Facebook/Twitter is below.

This Topic is Missing Your Voice.




Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *