By Kathryn Kelly ‘19
Steven Mercado ‘15 found out he was being charged by the city for public drunkenness, disorderly conduct and simple trespassing with everyone else. His citations were published in The Express Times, but he said he did not receive paper copies of the citations himself.
On Dec. 18 at 3:07 a.m., Mercado, a defensive tackle for Lafayette’s football team, allegedly entered 633 Monroe St. “by force” and “under the influence of alcohol where he was a danger to himself and others” according to court records. Mercado “made threats and terrorized the occupant” of the house, records say.
According to one of the citations, Mercado allegedly entered the house “yelling profanity at the occupant and yelling when he left the residence.”
Associate Director of Public Safety Jeff Troxell believes Mercado may have walked through the house and left through the back door. It is unclear whether the door was locked or unlocked, he said. Troxell reported no damage to the property, though one occupant of the house, Larisa Chiesa ‘17 said that the locks on the door had to be changed.
According to Troxell, Lafayette College Public Safety responded to a call from the owner of the house “in less than a minute,” but by that time, the trespasser was already gone.
The officers responding got a description of the trespasser from the occupant of the house and it matched Mercado, Troxell said. Three public safety officers were present, along with at least one Easton police officer, who Troxell believes may have been there as a “courtesy” back-up to the public safety officers.
According to Troxell, when public safety found Mercado that night and issued him his citation, he was “very cooperative and understood what [the officers] were there for.”
Mercado said that hemay be facing internal charges at Lafayette. Although he could not comment on internal charges,Troxell confirmed that Mercado was facing external charges with the city of Easton. While an Easton police officer was present for the incident, Mercado said that the Easton P.D. reported no charges against him.
Mercado declined to comment on whether he entered the house at 633 Monroe Street, but he did express concern about the length of time it took for him to find out he was being formally cited for the three crimes.
He said he was told on Dec. 18 that he was cited for the incident, but that he “never received a paper copy” of it in the mail. According to Troxell, public safety did not file the citation with the magistrate’s office until Jan. 22, about a month after the incident.
Troxell said that the charges were not filed until Jan. 22 for Mercado’s benefit, to “ensure that he got his citations properly,” and to “help him out to file it, so he had time to get the citation and address it properly.” However, Troxell is unsure whether this decision was communicated to Mercado.
The citations were mailed to Mercado’s on campus mailbox for him to sign, but were returned to their sender, according to a clerk at the Magistrate’s office. The clerk said that the citation papers are being sent to Mercado’s home address in Florida, where he said he was staying until roughly a week or two ago. The papers will also be re-sent to his mailbox at Lafayette, the clerk said.
The court is giving Mercado more time to respond because of address confusion, but if he fails to respond within another ten days after the second citation is sent, a warrant will be issued for his arrest, the clerk said.
Mercado is not currently enrolled at Lafayette, he said, but it is not due to the charges filed. He has taken the semester off to lengthen his period of eligibility as a football player after a missed season from injury—part of Patriot League policy.
Once Mercado responds to the charges, a court date can then be set.