Ex-teacher gets year in Pr. William sex abuse

By Josh White and Jennifer Buske Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, October 29, 2010

A former Osbourn High School teacher who has been linked to 30 years of sexual abuse and who admitted to sexually molesting a 16-year-old Manassas boy this year was sentenced Thursday to a year in the Prince William County jail.

In the first criminal sex case against Kevin Ricks, 50, the sentence amounts to a formality: Federal agents and local police are preparing to charge Ricks with numerous additional counts arising from a string of sexual abuse that dates to at least 1979. Because of time Ricks has served, he probably will be out of Prince William's custody by the end of the year.

Law enforcement officials say he then will be transferred to federal custody, and the extra time will allow them to prepare additional charges. He is charged in federal court in Alexandria with child pornography counts and in North Carolina with sexual abuse.

FBI agents and local police have linked Ricks, a career teacher and foreign exchange host, to sexual abuse of boys in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, several Western states and Japan. Federal and state prosecutors are lining up to file charges against Ricks, and law enforcement officials said they hope to put together prosecutions that would net decades of prison time.

Prince William Circuit Court Judge William D. Hamblen sentenced Ricks to five years in prison with all but one year suspended, giving a harsher sentence than was outlined in Virginia's guidelines. Those guidelines called for a maximum of three months in jail for the one count of indecent liberties with a minor, mainly because Ricks had never been convicted of a previous sex offense.

Hamblen said those guidelines "do not adequately take into account the breach of trust in this case." Virginia judges deviate from the guidelines only about 20 percent of the time.

'I am not a pedophile'

Ricks appeared in court wearing a light-blue collared shirt and was actively engaged in the 30-minute hearing, sometimes shaking his head and conferring with his lawyer.

He told Hamblen that he thinks he has been "completely mischaracterized" by police, prosecutors and the media and said he does not fully comprehend why the sexual contact with the boy happened. Ricks also denied previously going after boys.

"I am not a pedophile, and I never have been," Ricks told the court. "I am not a predator, and I never have been. I have never stalked anyone."

A Washington Post investigation has identified a dozen of Ricks's victims or people who thought they were being targeted across three decades. In interviews, they and others who know him say Ricks plied boys with gifts, attention and alcohol while working as a teacher, camp counselor and foreign exchange host.

In several cases, Ricks gave the boys copious amounts of tequila and abused them while they were passed out drunk or asleep; some were unaware they had been victimized until police or the FBI contacted them with evidence, The Post found.

Decades of Ricks's journal entries - writings that describe in detail his carefully plotted courtship of boys - have provided authorities with a road map. Paired with photographs and videos of the abuse that police found in Ricks's Federalsburg, Md., home, authorities think they have numerous solid cases and are working to identify victims around the globe.

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