To his students, Kevin Ricks was a popular teacher who went out of his way to befriend them, to gain their trust. To the prosecutors and officers who investigated him, Ricks is a serial predator, who assaulted scores of children.
Ricks, 50, of Federalsburg, Md., is facing a 25-year prison sentence after admitting to a decades-long pattern of molesting teenage boys in the United States and Japan. He had already received a one-year prison sentence in a Virginia court for taking indecent liberties with a minor while teaching at Osbourn High School in Manassas. His guilty plea Thursday in federal court to child pornography charges exposes him to a much greater prison term.
"This case is a chilling reminder to parents and kids that sometimes the face of evil is the familiar and everyday and seemingly respected role models," U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride said.
The guilty plea to seven counts of possession and production of child pornography covers Ricks's first assault to his last. He was a teenager himself, a 19-year-old junior counselor at a Virginia summer camp, when he set his sites on his first victim -- a deaf boy.
"His first victim was an 11-year-old deaf boy at a camp for disabled kids whose parents were going through a divorce and didn’t have a place to live," MacBride said.
Ricks was accused of inviting the boy to his home and abusing him.
Ricks admitted a pattern of assaults that was repeated over and over -- when Ricks was in college; when he moved to Japan to teach English; in Federalsburg, where he abused the foreign exchange students he hosted; and at Osbourn High, when a parent saw his inappropriate postings on a student Facebook page and contacted authorities.
Ricks befriended boys and their families, joining their churches and Boy Scout troops, and lavished them with gifts, MacBride said. After the victims passed out, Ricks would assault them.
"He would ply them with liquor, with tequila, get them drunk, they would pass out and he would strip them, photograph them, fondle them and commit other sex acts upon them," MacBride said.
Authorities found more than 600 photos on Ricks's computer, dozens of videotapes and 28 journals filled with graphic details of the assaults.
As part of a plea bargain, both prosecutors and the defense will recommend a 25-year sentence.
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