Memphis news anchor charged with child sex in Maryland

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - A longtime Memphis broadcaster was arrested and charged with raping a young child more than two decades ago in Maryland.

Ron Meroney, 69, was arrested at his Memphis home Wednesday and has refused extradition to Wicomico County in Maryland. He was indicted in December on a charge of statutory rape of a child under 14.

Prosecutor Davis Ruark in Maryland would not provide more details. The indictment was sealed. A news release by the Wicomico County Child Advocacy Center said only that an investigation uncovered a statutory rape accusation between the months of June and October of 1974.

Meroney is an anchor on "Good Morning Memphis" on Memphis' FOX affiliate and has been in the city since at least 1998, after working in several markets throughout the country in radio and TV. He replaced Wink Martindale as host of "Top Ten Dance Party" in the 1950s, according to WHBQ-TV's Web site.

Meroney lived in Maryland in the 1970s and 80s, according to an online public records data base.

It was unclear why authorities waited five months to arrest Meroney after the indictment. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation arrested him after the governor's office forwarded them information about a warrant, TBI spokeswoman Jennifer Johnson said.

In 1984, Meroney was charged with several counts of sexual offenses in Baltimore County. Those charges included child abuse and rape.

All but one of those charges were dismissed in July of 1984. On one charge, third-degree sexual offense, Meroney was granted probation before judgment, indicating that a judge found that the facts were sufficient for a prosecution, but instead elected to grant probation before entering a sentence.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)