Meroney returns to Maryland to face statutory rape charge

Ron Meroney in a Memphis court appearance.
Ron Meroney in a Memphis court appearance.

SALISBURY, Md. (AP) - A Memphis television anchor accused of committing statutory rape in Wicomico County in 1974 surrendered to authorities in Maryland on Thursday.

Ron Meroney, 69, of Arlington, Tenn., was indicted in December on a charge of statutory rape of a child under 14. He was arrested in Memphis in May. The Wicomico County state's attorney's office refused to provide details about the incident, and the indictment was sealed.

A news release issued by the Wicomico County Child Advocacy Center in May said an investigation uncovered a statutory rape accusation between the months of June and October of 1974.

When Meroney was arrested, he first refused extradition, but later agreed to go to Maryland to face charges. He appeared before a Wicomico County Circuit judge late Thursday afternoon and was ordered to be held at the county detention center in lieu of $50,000 bond, state's attorney Davis Ruark told The Daily Times in Salisbury, Maryland.

Meroney had been 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.

A person who answered the phone at WHBQ Thursday night refused to say whether Meroney was still employed there.

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

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 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.)