Angel Rodriguez Mercado, a paraprofessional with Manatee County Schools, has been charged with Lewd and Lascivious Molestation of a 3rd grade student at Abel Elementary School.
Manatee County Sheriff's Office detectives began investigating allegations of molestation by Mercado on November 7, after a 3rd-grade student disclosed information about the crime to a relative. MCSO said that a safety plan was immediately put in place, and Mercado was removed from contact with children at the school as detectives conducted a thorough investigation.
On November 15, Mercado, 67, confessed to committing Lewd and Lascivious Molestation on the victim. He was charged accordingly and booked at the Manatee County Jail, where he remains in custody.
"We commend the bravery of the victim in disclosing this information which led to Mercado’s arrest," MCSO said through a spokesperson. "We encourage parents to speak to their children about molestation and how to report this crime. Detectives also encourage anyone who has information about this case or knows someone who could be a victim, to contact the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office at (941) 747-3011."
Manatee Schools Superintendent Jason Wysong released the following statement:
Dear Parents and Families,
The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office announced today that a Teacher’s Aide at Abel Elementary School was arrested on a charge of Lewd and Lascivious Molestation. As soon as the district was made aware of the allegation, the Teacher’s Aide, Angel Rodriguez Mercado, was immediately removed from any interaction with students in the school district. The Sheriff’s Office is reporting that Mercado confessed to the crime.
As educators, parents, and members of this community, I believe we share a sense of anger and sorrow upon hearing this news.
My heart goes out to the victim, the victim’s family, and everyone impacted during this painful and agonizing time. Our school support team of psychologists, social workers, and safety and security personnel have been on-site at Abel Elementary and will stand ready to serve whatever needs may come. I ask that you join me in keeping the entire Abel Elementary School community in your thoughts.
I thank the Sheriff’s Office for their hard work, and we will continue to fully cooperate with all efforts related to this case.
In addition, I wanted to share the information below detailing Mr. Mercado’s work history with the district.
If anyone has information about this case or knows anyone else who might be a victim, please call the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office at (941) 747-3011.
Angel Rodriguez Mercado’s Employment History with the School District:
December 1, 2016 – August 16, 2017: Custodian at Daughtrey Elementary School
August 17, 2017 – December 31, 2017: Paraprofessional at Palm View K-8
January 1, 2018 – August 4, 2019: Bilingual ESOL Paraprofessional at Palm View K-8
August 5, 2019 to present: ESOL Professional at Abel Elementary School