Charges against student withdrawn in court

All charges have been withdrawn against Steven Mercado ‘16, who was cited last December for three summary offenses: public drunkenness, disorderly conduct, and simple trespassing.

A hearing took place at the district court at 9 a.m. on Wednesday lasting roughly five minutes, during which police officer Patrick Best, who does patrol for public safety, withdrew the charges he filed against Mercado on Dec. 18.

The court records of the charges filed against Mercado, a defensive tackle for Lafayette’s football team, stated that on Dec. 18 at 3:07 a.m., Mercado allegedly entered 633 Monroe St. “by force” and “under the influence of alcohol where he was a danger to himself and others.” Mercado “made threats and terrorized the occupant” of the house, records say.

Best withdrew the charges after private discussion with Mercado and his lawyer, Mark Minotti, as well as the witness summoned to testify against Mercado.

In his statement to the judge, Minotti said that Mercado will be graduating from Lafayette at the end of this semester and he would like to leave the incident behind him.

Mercado was not enrolled at the college in the beginning of this semester. In a previous interview with The Lafayette, Mercado said that he was taking the spring semester off to lengthen his period of eligibility as a football player after a missed season from injury—part of NCAA policy. This would have meant graduating in 2017 rather than 2016.

Mercado declined to comment on the verdict as well as why he decided not to come back to Lafayette next year.

In addition to the citations filed against him by public safety with the city of Easton, Mercado also faced internal charges with the school as well as disciplinary action from the football team, according to head football coach Frank Tavani.

Mercado had already submitted his withdrawal letter when he decided to re-enroll at the college, Tavani said.

He said Mercado needed to weigh his options.

“He certainly had to consider what the potentialities were,” Tavani said.

Professor Susan Averett, who was Mercado’s advisor at the internal hearing, declined to comment on the results of that hearing.

Tavani, who was in conversation with Mercado, said that Mercado’s decision to re-enroll in classes this semester and graduate this spring is a result of his acceptance into and scholarship for graduate school, where he will be able to continue to play football.

“The truth of the matter is these opportunities heated up for grad school,” Tavani said.

Tavani said that he was contacted about the trespassing incident by the graduate school that Mercado will be attending next year.

“At this stage of the game, we’re not going to make any further comment,” Minotti said. “Steven’s moving on with his life.”

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