Former Manassas teacher charged with molesting N.C. boy in the 1970s

Ricks, who once taught at Osbourn High School in Manassas, will register as a sex offender after acknowledging indecent liberties with a 16-year-old boy.
By Josh White
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 22, 2010; 7:54 PM

Police in North Carolina have charged former Manassas teacher Kevin Ricks with sexually molesting a young boy there more than 30 years ago in a case that stems from evidence that Ricks has abused numerous boys while working as a camp counselor, teacher and foreign exchange host since the late 1970s.

Roanoke Rapids, N.C., authorities charged Ricks with taking indecent liberties with a minor. The latest charge comes amid a sweeping federal investigation of Ricks's alleged alcohol-soaked encounters with boys in several states and overseas that came to a halt when he was arrested this year in Manassas. The charge in Roanoke Rapids, Ricks's childhood home, relates to an incident at his parents' home with a 10-year-old boy Ricks met at a summer camp for children with disabilities. The boy is deaf.

A Washington Post investigation, published in July, revealed that Ricks, 50, abused boys throughout his teaching career and brought foreign exchange students into his home, some of whom he molested while they were passed out or asleep. He bounced among public and private schools, avoiding detection or leaving school systems when they began to suspect inappropriate behavior, the investigation found.

The Post detailed the allegations in the North Carolina case after interviews with the victim's family this year. It is the first known case tied to Ricks. The Post story revealed decades of predation that law enforcement officials and victims say stretched from North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland to Japan, all locations where Ricks has worked as a teacher.

The North Carolina victim, now 42 and living in Virginia, said in an interview Wednesday that the abuse has affected him throughout his life and that the realization that Ricks had done the same thing to other boys shocked him. He spoke on condition of anonymity, and The Post generally does not identify victims of sex crimes.

"He's ruined a lot of kids' lives, like he did with mine," he said. "I still wonder how someone could do that to a child. It is just so wrong."

Ricks pleaded guilty in July to charges that he molested a former Osbourn High School student after providing him with beer and shots of tequila over winter break. Ricks is in the Prince William County jail awaiting sentencing next month. With his guilty plea, Ricks now will have to register as a sex offender, ending his teaching career.

Federal authorities also have charged him with possession and transportation of child pornography, and they likely will take him into custody when his Virginia case concludes, law enforcement officials said. There is a warrant for his arrest in North Carolina and a tentative court date there for November.

Ricks also kept extensive handwritten journals that describe abuse dating to his teen years, and police collected thousands of pieces of evidence from his home in Federalsburg, Md.

Ricks's attorney declined to comment Wednesday. In an earlier written statement, Ricks said he has tried to be a "model of compassion and empathy. To the extent that I have failed causes me grief for which I will spend the rest of my days seeking forgiveness and atonement."

Ricks met the North Carolina boy at Camp Holiday Trails in Charlottesville, when he was working as a counselor in the late 1970s. Ricks cultivated a close relationship with the boy and his family.

While the boy's mother was going through a difficult divorce, Ricks took him on a winter vacation to Disney World and later offered to host him for the summer in North Carolina, where Ricks's family lives. Ricks changed that summer, the victim said.

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