Ricks’s sentence was the result of a carefully crafted plea agreement in U.S. District Court in Alexandria that encompasses six cases in which Ricks admits he staged naked photographs of boys he abused while they were passed out. The abuse spanned Ricks’s career as a camp counselor, boy scout leader, babysitter, high school teacher, tutor and foreign exchange host.
U.S. District Judge James C. Cacheris sentenced Ricks, 51, to 25 years in prison, a fixed number tied to the deal. Federal guidelines called for 30 years to life on charges of production and possession of child pornography.
A Washington Post investigation published last year, before he was charged with federal crimes, discovered that Ricks had abused boys in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and Japan, all locations where Ricks had children in his care. Ricks, who was married, used his position of authority to endear himself as a caring mentor and friend before infiltrating his victims’ lives, obsessing over them, and ultimately getting them drunk on tequila before abusing them, according to dozens of interviews and Ricks’s own letters and journals.
Ricks was able to move between and among teaching jobs with barely a blemish on his record, as school districts were more concerned with getting rid of him than punishing him, The Post found.
Ricks also kept shrines to some of the boys, saving flowers, hair clippings, condoms, underwear and soiled tissues. He also used tarot cards and attempted to have magic spells cast in his attempts to lure victims.