Man arrested after he tried to force himself on a juvenile as she slept

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ocala news, ocala post
Jerome Merritt

A 20-year-old was arrested Tuesday and charged with Lewd and Lascivious Behavior by an Adult Over 18.

On December 18, Jerome Merritt was hanging out in a “she shed” at a friend’s house who was celebrating turning 21.

By the early morning hours, Merritt had consumed a large amount of alcohol, began to feel sick, and made his way into the house while everyone else was sleeping.

As he stumbled into the house, he vomited on the floor and himself and then got into the shower.

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After exiting the shower, Merritt went into the room of a 15-year-old female and climbed on top of her while he was wet and naked.

According to the victim, Merritt tried to pull her pajama pants off as he kissed all over her neck, at which time she pushed him off. He left for a brief moment but returned. She again had to tell him no.

Merritt then exited the room, went back out to the “she shed,” and passed out while he was still naked.

When the victim told her mother, she went out to the shed to confront Merritt who was still sleeping. The mother stated that she and her son had a difficult time waking Merritt.

Once awake, Merritt began to apologize. By that time, the mother was already on the phone with 911.

Merritt then called his mom via Facetime. His mother instructed him to get in his car and leave, however, the victim’s mother said she would not allow it because he was too intoxicated to drive.

Merritt’s mother told him to send his location, at which time the mother of the victim told her that she was not welcome on the property.

Merritt then tried walking home, but could not hold his balance and returned to the driveway of the residence where he leaned up against a car crying until authorities arrived.

Merritt was questioned and later released.

The next day, Merritt began sending text messages to the victim’s mother begging her not to get law enforcement involved.

“I got my whole Life ahead of me and I don’t want to deal with this In the future can we at least talk about this so we can get this handled instead of getting the law involved,” Merritt wrote in a text.

Merrit said he was sorry and didn’t mean for anything like that to happen. He also promised to never drink again.

On Tuesday, Merritt confessed and was immediately arrested. He was booked into the Marion County Jail and posted a $5,000 bond a short time later.

The victim and her mother have also received death threats from some of Merritt’s family members.

In one threat, a family member wrote, “It would be ashamed if something happened to you and your [daughter].

Authorities have been notified of the threats.

Investigators said Merritt had also lied to the family about his age, making them believe he was older than 20.