Help for Victims of Vista High School Basketball Coach Charlie Mercado

July 21, 2016

Since its inception twenty years ago, Estey & Bomberger attorneys have specialized in helping young survivors of school sexual molestation.  There have been several institutional child sex abuse cases in the news recently, and our team of aggressive attorneys is already helping several survivors and their families.  As the Charlie Mercado story unfolds, Estey & Bomberger has made bandwidth available, to be able to give attention to victim — or, more likely, victims — and loved ones.

Support systems have always been important for families, and never more so than in a time of overwhelming stress like sex abuse of a family member.  There are two reasons:

  1. The huge financial resources and giant bureaucracy of schools and school districts are no match for individual students or parents.  Left to its own devices, in most cases, even if the bureaucratic institution admits that its employee molested a child, it is unlikely that it will offer fair compensation to the survivor for the violations.  Furthermore, it is unlikely that the incident will result in any sort of significant change in the way it operates – background checks, oversight, etc.
  2. Family and friends are 100% supportive for the survivor emotionally, and this is a great thing.  The family, though, needs a different sort of ally — one with appropriate legal knowledge that knows how to use it, persistently and aggressively, to try the case or negotiate the settlement, and lead the family down the correct path throughout the case.

Strong Assets, Strong Team Members, No Expenses Spared

Estey & Bomberger’s legal team devotes itself to you, the client – in fact, we only accept a few cases each year.  We are extremely focused on you and your results.  At our own expense, we hire top experts and top-rated investigators and other professionals to work on your behalf, to build the strongest possible case.  We spare no expenses pursuing justice for your benefit.  Our research and know-how is our best asset in securing a record-breaking settlement or verdict for you.

Vista High School, Vista Unified School District and Basketball Coach Charlie Mercado

Vista Unified School District, originally formed in 1936, comprises 29 schools and cares for 22,000+ students.  It is one of northern San Diego County’s largest, and employs over 2000 people.  Notable alumni include professional football players, baseball players and singers.  Yet unfortunately, this school and school district will be known for some time as ground zero for the Charlie Mercado student sex abuse scandal.

According to news reports, 36-year-old basketball coach Charlie Mercado has been employed at the school since 2006.  He surrendered on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department’s Child Abuse Unit’s detectives.  The court date is August 25, 2016 and the community awaits further news; meanwhile, Mercado has been released on $10,000 bail.

The female 11th-grader admitted to school administrators that she was in an inappropriate relationship with Coach Mercado – she did so on May 11, 2016, according to Lieutenant Dan Brislin.  During the investigation, again according to Lt. Brislin, detectives found that Coach Mercado had fostered an intimate relationship with the girl, and in fact had met with her off-campus where they had engaged in inappropriate contact.

When we send our children to school, it seems to be an unwritten rule.  No one specifies that their children should not be coached by sexual molesters, or that teachers and staff should not initiate, or participate in, inappropriate relationships with students.  It’s just assumed by parents that it’s not okay for that to happen.  So when a school employee like Mercado breaks our bond of implied trust, we as a community really suffer.  We are shocked (parents, grandparents, and families all over the county) to see these revelations come to light.  Has Mercado victimized other young teens?  Though there may not be evidence of it right now, our experience tells us that Mercado has likely left multiple others in his wake.

As a society, we’re so tuned in to the news — big and small — that we think no detail has gone unreported or unnoticed.  Add to that the fact that citizen journalism makes every person able to report every thing, and yet, again, we are surprised to be surprised like this about teachers, coaches and other school staff molesting children in their charge as did Charlie Mercado.

Next Steps –What to Do if your Child was Molested by Coach Mercado

If you suspect your child was molested by Coach Mercado, or by any other teacher or coach at Vista High School, you owe it to yourself and your child to have a no-charge meeting with our law team at Estey & Bomberger.  We are compassionate, and highly skilled, school sexual abuse attorneys  and we can help you open the discussion about whether to file a lawsuit against Coach Mercado, Vista High School and/or the Vista Unified School District. We have secured the highest individual results (both settlements and verdicts) for child survivors of sex abuse at California schools, over $100 million total in just the last five years.

It’s a specialized field.  There are a lot of smart and skilled attorneys out there, though it’s rare that they also have so many years of experience litigating against institutional sex abuse and striving for changes in the institutional system.  Furthermore, you want to do your research while thinking about the long-term.  Many find that it’s an overwhelming process, and they value the consistent and compassionate support from youth sports molestation lawyers who have done this time and again.

Contact Us Any Time

Feel free to call us, any time, toll free at 800.925.0723.  We look forward to your call, and will be happy to begin the discussion — always confidential, always no-charge – between you, your family and our child molestation lawyers.

Clients have said that guidance through this very important, sensitive and difficult time is part of the ultimate goal – healing.  Estey & Bomberger charges nothing up front to you at all.  The consultation is free.  Fees are charged on a contingency basis, which means we don’t get paid until/unless we win the case.  This contingency method of payment is the strongest motivator for your attorneys, who will be persistent and aggressive in getting the highest and best result for you.  After the initial discussion, you can decide whether to move forward, and, if so, how.