COLLEGE STATION – Texas A&M sophomore receiver Kirk Merritt has pleaded not guilty to two charges of indecent exposure from last fall.
Merritt has requested a delay of arraignment, which was originally scheduled for earlier this week at the Brazos County Courthouse.
In one count, an alleged victim accused Merritt of exposing and touching himself “while sitting in arm’s reach” of her “on or about” Oct. 24. About a day later according to a court document, another alleged victim claimed Merritt pulled down his shorts and held himself also “while sitting in arm’s reach” of her. The document describes both alleged victims as “offended or alarmed by the act of exposure.”
Both of the victims were tutors at A&M in the Bright Football Complex, two people with knowledge of the case said. Merritt’s attorney Rick Davis responded to the Chronicle on Friday afternoon citing a “bad case of jock itch” as Merritt’s defense.
“Kirk Merritt has been charged with Indecent Exposure under Section 21.08 of the Texas Penal Code because of two incidents during tutoring sessions that happened on two consecutive days,” Davis wrote. “While Kirk is very embarrassed about this situation, and has apologized to the two tutors that he offended, he did not intend to gratify anyone by exposing himself.
“The fact is that Kirk had a bad case of jock itch. The statute Kirk has been accused of violating requires that the Defendant have an intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person and that the Defendant is reckless about whether another may be present who will be offended or alarmed by his conduct.
“We think that Kirk’s conduct falls squarely under the Disorderly Conduct statute … That statute requires only that a Defendant is reckless about whether another may be present who will be offended or alarmed by his act.”
A&M responded on Friday evening with a statement claiming Merritt had been suspended indefinitely from athletics following his arrest on Nov. 8, but following a “university conduct process” the suspension was lifted on Feb. 1. The statement said Merritt will not play in Saturday’s spring game.
Courthouse records show Merritt pleaded not guilty on March 27, according to a courthouse clerk, and Davis said a new hearing date has yet to be set. Merritt has been taking part in spring drills, with the Aggies’ annual Maroon & White spring game scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday to wrap up spring drills.
Merritt, 20, transferred to A&M from Oregon last year and sat out the 2016 season under NCAA transfer rules. The former four-star and highly sought recruit originally signed with Oregon out of Destrehan, La. He played sparingly for the Ducks in 2015, with five catches in 11 games.