Reporting Mary Bubala
BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A former Baltimore Catholic school teacher convicted of raping a student and sentenced to life in prison could get out on a technicality. A hearing is set for next week.
But now, another victim is stepping forward talking to WJZ for the first time about John Merzbacher.
Mary Bubala has the exclusive interview.
“It’s been terrible,” Donna Berger said.
Berger, 48, says she met with prosecutors in Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office on Thursday. She says they’re starting to build a new case against Merzbacher in case he’s freed.
“I am coming forward now because the most horrific, serial child rapist that ever walked this world has a chance of getting out of prison and harming many other children. I don’t care how old you are, I don’t care if he’s 80, if he can still walk, breathe, and touch, he can harm a child,” Berger said.
Merzbacher was indicted on charges of raping and sodomizing more than a dozen students. He was convicted in one case and given life in prison.
But now he could be released immediately on a legal technicality. Merzbacher claims his attorney never told him about a plea deal to serve just 10 years.
Berger says Merzbacher raped her multiple times when she was just 11 years old.
The Archdiocese of Baltimore has apologized and is paying for counseling for her.
Berger says her classmates witnessed the abuse.
“He threatened us so much we feared for our life everyday of our life. I threw up everyday that I come to school, everyday for three years,” she said.
Victims came together in front of the former Catholic school in Locust Point this week vowing to fight Merzbacher’s release and support Berger and others who may come forward.
“This man ruined all of our lives,” Berger said.
Merzbacher has a hearing scheduled for June 14. His attorney did not return WJZ‘s calls on Friday. The state’s Attorney General’s Office is appealing the ruling.