By Josh White
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 17, 2010; 5:45 PM
Former Manassas teacher and convicted sex offender Kevin Ricks was indicted Wednesday in Maryland on charges that he sexually abused a German foreign exchange student there in 2004, the latest criminal case to arise from more than three decades of reported abuse.
A Caroline County grand jury charged Ricks with seven counts, including providing alcohol to a minor, child pornography production and sexual contact with someone who is incapacitated. The charges carry a potential maximum combined sentence of more than 100 years in prison.
The charges stem from alleged abuse that occurred in Ricks's Federalsburg home after a night of heavy drinking with high school boys - abuse that Ricks recorded on video and in photographs, authorities said.
Ricks, 50, a former English teacher at Osbourn High School, is serving a one-year sentence in Manassas for molesting a 16-year-old boy there. Although that term is to end Dec. 24, Ricks almost certainly will not be released because, in addition to the Maryland case, he faces sex and pornography charges in North Carolina and in federal court in Alexandria.
"I think the citizens of this county . . . were all victims of this guy's scam as much as anyone else, even if they didn't become physical victims themselves," said Caroline state's attorney Jonathan Newell.
"I think everyone's sort of devastated that someone from another country would trust their child to come here and be taken care of, and instead had their worst nightmare take place."
It was the Manassas abuse, discovered in February, that exposed Ricks's secret life. After he was arrested, police searched his home and found journals and a trove of photographs and videos of him in encounters with boys.
The apparent abuse of the German student, who was living with Ricks, was reported in a Washington Post investigation in July. The student told The Post that he had passed out and did not remember what happened but felt that something wasn't right the next morning.
Ricks, who pleaded guilty to abusing the Manassas boy, has said that he is not a predator. At his divorce hearing last week in Maryland, he said by phone from jail that he had never done anything more than "consensual touching" and had never been unfaithful to his wife. Authorities say that the evidence they have contradicts those statements and indicates a pattern of stalking, obsession and abuse.
Two high school students who were at Ricks's home the day the German student says he was abused said they spent the afternoon in Ricks's back yard, staging photographs in the snow and pretending they were at the beach. Some of the photos depict them shirtless and lying on towels.
Then came the drinking.
Brady Clark, 23, said that Ricks provided Jose Cuervo tequila and that the students sat at the dining room table and drank to the point of vomiting. Clark, whose family was close with Ricks, went to sleep in a guest house, and the exchange student stayed inside with Ricks.
Several of Ricks's alleged victims have said he plied them with tequila. A Japanese boy said he was made to drink tequila on a trip with Ricks to the United States in 1994; a Danish foreign exchange student said he did tequila shots with Ricks the night Ricks took graphic photos of him while passed out in Danville, Va., in 1999. Ricks provided the Manassas boy with tequila shots before molesting him.
Clark said he knew nothing of the abuse until after Ricks was arrested. Now, Clark said he thinks Ricks used him to get to his friends and to get closer to the exchange students Ricks hosted.
"I feel like a tool he used, that I was manipulated just like everyone else was," Clark said. "He comes across as a caring person, but when you get down to it, he's a very selfish person."
The German student said he became uncomfortable with Ricks almost immediately after arriving in 2003. Ricks demanded hugs each night before bed and later used electronic spy programs to look in on his e-mail. The student ultimately went to his foreign exchange company for help. The company removed him and barred Ricks from hosting students.
But Ricks continued to stalk him, the student said. School records obtained by The Post indicate that Ricks was banned from school property in April 2004.
Ricks then got another teenager to videotape the German student playing tennis at the high school, prompting the student to seek a restraining order in court. The court declined the order because the student did not have the evidence police now do.
The Post typically does not identify victims in sexual assault cases.