Memphis news anchor faces judge on child rape charges

Ron Meroney is usually found in front of the camera anchoring the morning news on WHBQ-TV. But he spent Thursday morning in front of a judge. Meroney is answering charges of child rape dating back more than 30 years.

"My initial thought and expressions when I first heard the news was this is not possible and not true," says David Evans.

Evans is not only Ron Meroney's eye doctor, but fellow church member and close friend.

"There's no way this could possibly be happening to a man like this," says Evans.

But police in Maryland say otherwise. That's where Meroney faces a charge of statutory rape in Wicomico County.

The allegation goes back to 1974. But it isn't Ron Meroney's first sex crime charge. Back in 1984, he was charged with assault and statutory rape, also in Maryland. That rape charge was dropped. Meroney was sentenced to probation for assault.

The anchorman did not answer our knock on his door Thursday. Dr. Evans is afraid people may have already convicted his friend.

"You know, I think in cases like this--often times the accusations can kill a person before the truth is ever known and I just hope this turns out to be nothing more than a horrible mistake," says Evans.

He and others will be watching as Meroney goes from news-reader to news-maker.

Authorities in Maryland are not saying much, including why seven months passed between Meroney's indictment and arrest. In addition, they are offering no details about the charges.