Former Manassas teacher taken into federal custody on child pornography charges after being released from Virginia jail

Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 20, 2010; 6:03 PM

Former Manassas teacher Kevin Ricks was released from the Prince William County jail Monday, and U.S. marshals immediately took him into custody to face federal charges connected to more than 30 years of suspected sexual abuse.

The move was timed to coincide with the end of Ricks's year-long jail sentence for molesting a 16-year-old boy who had been a student of his at Osbourn High School in Manassas. Authorities have viewed that case as the beginning of a series of prosecutions against Ricks, who has been linked to abuse cases in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and in Japan, where he taught English for seven years.

The first federal charges against Ricks emerged from evidence that police found on his laptop computer and in his Federalsburg, Md., home after he was arrested in the Manassas case in February. Ricks is charged in U.S. District Court in Alexandria with possession and transportation of child pornography, offenses that together carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, prosecutors said Monday.

He also has been charged in North Carolina and in Maryland on sex abuse charges that could yield sentences of more than 100 years.

A Washington Post investigation has found more than a dozen boys who knew Ricks as a teacher, tutor, camp counselor, foreign exchange host and scout leader and thought they were victimized or targeted.

In interviews, the boys said Ricks got them drunk on tequila and abused them after they had passed out. Ricks kept thousands of videos, photographs and journals that detailed the abuse and his obsessive relationships with teenage boys.

The investigation also revealed how Ricks was able to move from teaching job to teaching job, in some cases drawing suspicion but never a permanent mark on his record. He began teaching in Manassas in 2007 after leaving jobs in Baltimore, Caroline County, Md., and Danville, Va.

Federal authorities plan to charge Ricks with more crimes, and local police and FBI agents have been working to identify and interview possible victims across the country and overseas.

Ricks, 50, made a five-minute appearance in Alexandria on Monday afternoon, telling Magistrate Judge John F. Anderson that he could not afford a lawyer.

Anderson told Ricks that he faces "very serious charges" and ordered him held in federal custody. Ricks is scheduled to appear before Anderson on Wednesday afternoon for a probable cause hearing.

Because Ricks pleaded guilty and was convicted in Prince William County, he has been listed as a sex offender and will not be able to teach again, regardless of the outcome of the federal cases.

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