Foster Father Convicted on Child Sex Charge

SALISBURY, Md.- A Mardela Springs foster father has been convicted of sexual abuse of a minor, the Wicomico County State's Attorney's Office announced.
According to prosecutors, the victim was a foster child in the care and custody of 52-year-old Tracy Grant Bayne. The victim was removed from Bayne's home when other foster children who had been placed on the property disclosed abuse in March 2011, prosecutors said.
Bayne, who was convicted of the aforementioned charge in Wicomico County Circuit Court on Tuesday, faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison. Sentencing is expected to occur within the next 60 days.
Bayne's nephew, 39-year-old Stephen James Merritt, who lived at a separate home within close proximity to Bayne, pleaded guilty last month to three counts of sexual abuse of a minor and five counts of third-degree sexual offense. By pleading guilty, Merritt waived his right to a jury trial. He faces a maximum of 125 years in prison at his sentencing hearing, which is scheduled for Nov. 4.
During his trial, prosecutors told the court that Merritt sexually abused eight boys while they were in his care from as far back as Jan. 1, 1998 to as recently as March 15, 2011.