The owner of a club volleyball gym in Texas is accused of raping a 16-year-old girl at her residence and giving her and other girls marijuana.
Damian Merrick, the owner of Grapevine (Texas) Volleyball Club, was arrested last Friday and faces charges of delivery of marijuana to a child and sexual assault of a child, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He was released on $20,000 bail.
The alleged assault occurred in March at the 16-year-old’s residence while her parents were away, according to affidavits obtained by the Star-Telegram. Merrick, 48, is accused of giving marijuana to the 16-year-old and other girls. He then forced the girl to have sex in the bathroom, the newspaper reported.
The girl told investigators in May that Merrick sexually assaulted her several times, including in parking lots and an area motel. She did not come forward with the allegations because she was “scared and blamed herself,” according to the report.
This is the second time Merrick has been arrested. The first arrest was on May 7 after he was accused of providing marijuana to juveniles in March and April, the Star-Telegram reported.
A father told Dallas TV station WFAA News 8 that his daughter was one of the girls allegedly drugged by Merrick.
“I think it’s the worst case scenario in any parent’s mind,” the father told News 8. “You got an individual that sets up a volleyball club, projects himself to be a mentor to these young girls to learn, and he has set up an institution grooming them and plying them with drugs.”
Merrick could not be reached for comment, according to the Star-Telegram and News 8. The investigation is ongoing.
There is no mention of Merrick on the club’s website, and the club’s Facebook page appears to have been disabled after reports of Merrick’s arrest surfaced this week.