The front page of the WaPo has Kevin Ricks plastered larger than life. The Washington Post reveals months of investigative reporting that uncover the a decades-long pattern of abuse, deceit, and duplicitous behavior of 49 year-old teacher Kevin Ricks. Ricks, a former teacher at Osbourn High School, left a trail of betrayal of public trust that stretched as far away as Japan.

From the Washington Post:

Kevin Ricks was a gregarious, well-traveled English teacher at Osbourn High School, a Walt Whitman devotee who was so popular that a photo of him in class was chosen to fill the opening page of the yearbook. A writer and photographer himself, Ricks would walk the halls of the Manassas school with a leather-bound journal of his musings tucked in his bag, next to his laptop computer

What teachers, parents, students and even his wife didn’t know was that his journals contained decades of dark secrets, a running handwritten commentary of Ricks’s world of obsession, infatuation, pursuit, sexual abuse and international child exploitation.

They didn’t know about his library of homemade pornographic videos and explicit photographs capturing his tequila-soaked sex acts with teenage boys he had handpicked. They didn’t know about the makeshift shrine boxes containing mementos of the episodes, including sex toys, soiled tissues and hair trimmings.

Even some of the victims didn’t know they were victims.

A four-month Washington Post investigation of Ricks’s career as a teacher, tutor, foreign exchange host and camp counselor has revealed a pattern of abuse that dates to at least 1978 and has left a trail of victims spanning the globe. But despite the abuse, Ricks moved from one teaching job to the next over nearly 30 years, navigating the nation’s public and private school systems undetected, evading traps designed to catch him.

In some cases, school officials and foreign exchange companies knew of or suspected Ricks’s inappropriate behavior and simply let him go, leaving the next employer with no idea what was coming.

His case underscores the difficulties that educators and parents face when they only suspect abuse but can’t prove it, and how reluctant even the most suspicious and well-meaning people can be in coming forward with allegations. It shows how someone can for decades wear a mask of trusted role model while using that powerful position to lure unsuspecting boys.

One mother attempted to warn officials at Osbourn High School:



Unfortunately, often sexual predators are well liked and popular, especially amongst young people. They show interest in kids and are well liked. The creepy part doesn’t show through to many people. There is very little an official can do with there has been real no wrong-doing.

One has to ask how Ricks flew beneath the radar with his background check in Virginia. Did other schools not report problems? He seemed to job hop a lot, either by choice or because he was dismissed. Those who dismissed him probably find it easier to do without giving any reason.

This type of sexual abuse is done on the sneak. It has nothing to do with the curriculum, school permissiveness, or any other reasons people might seek out to attack the schools. In this person’s case, the abuse went on in public schools, private schools and foreign exchange programs. Accusing someone of sexual misconduct is an extremely serious charge and one that is very hard to prove.

The real last line of defense falls on the parents. Parents know when someone is paying too much attention to their child. Parents just know. Ms. Kaiser, seen in the video above, did the right thing. She at least sowed the seeds that something just was not right and she also kept her son from harm’s way. Any time a child is singled out, above all others, parents might want to step in and just be a little more observant and a little more present. It is difficult to sexually abuse a kid if his/her parents are right there. Certainly not everyone who takes a special interest in a child or young adult and has ulterior motives. However, in today’s times, one just can’t be too careful. Parents must be vigilant.

Meanwhile, it is all too easy to reach out and blame Osbourn. Give the school a break. You can’t fire someone on an outside parent’s complain. All you can do is watch. I expect that Mr. Ricks has years of sneaky practice under his belt.

Perverts are everywhere. In homes, churches, schools, scouts, athletics, sports leagues, on bike trails, in stores….This one finally got caught.

Link to entire Washignton Post story

PATH OF A PREDATOR: Where was Kevin Ricks?

16 Thoughts to “WaPo Front Page: Lurking in the Schools”

  1. Wolverine

    The kids and all that modern communications technology!! Seems like honest and caring parents are operating under some severe handicaps these days. Mrs. W is always full of stories about the kids and their gadgets and how difficult it is for teachers and administrators to keep them from finding sub rosa ways to use them even during class time. You never know where those kids are going with those things and how much trouble they may be walking into. But Mrs. W told me about the solution of one of her colleagues. She keeps a huge magnet in her desk drawer. She finds you using those gadgets during her class and into her desk drawer they go, emerging clean as a baby’s bottom after a generous application of baby wipes.

  2. AreaWoman

    Sexual predators get by on their charm and affability, and count on the enabling parents who say, “Oh, HE would never do that. He practically raised my kid!” If predators walked around in trenchcoats and looked like creepy old men, I’m sure they wouldn’t get by with decades of abuse.

    Mr. Ricks taught my daughter, and all of my children were in the band with Ted Johnson. While you want to believe someone is innocent until proven guilty, a parent can’t be too careful. I could not believe the chorus of support Johnson received from parents who refused to believe it was even possible he was guilty. Seriously? You hear stuff like this and would still leave your child alone with this person before you were sure of the truth? They’d probably let their kids have “sleepovers” with Michael Jackson, too.

  3. Pat.Herve

    it is easy for much of this to be kept under covers, unless one is arrested and prosecuted, and registered with a sex registry, If a former employer speaks bad of an individual, they are opening themselves up for a law suit, so the behavior often does not get relayed to the new employer upon reference.

    1. Absolutely. Pat is exactly right. An employer would be an idiot to relay that information on to anyone without absolute proof. The Osbourn principal was in the same boat when Mrs. Kaiser and her husband reported their suspicions to him. Nothing had happened. All he could do is keep an eye open and an ear to the ground. And he would have opened the entire City of Manassas up to a costly law suit had he done anything or said anything. Sexual predators are slick and they know all the angles.

  4. AreaWoman made my point for. She is absolutely correct.

    The sexual predators are very affable and popular. They make sure that kids like them. It is all part of the insulation process.

    I also remember the chorus of support for Mr. Johnson, even after his trial. Hard to believe. Over the years, the people I know of who were dismissed…(and you don’t know exactly why unless there is police arrest because of privacy and personnel laws) over those types of issues, you always suspected and the people were always pupular buddies with kids. I was never surprised.

    The dangers now are that kids are wise to all of this and some of have some rather awful accusations about people. Men are particularly vulnerable. Once an accusation is made, it is hard to pretend it didn’t happen. Those kinds of accusations can destroy careers just because some kid wants to get even.

    So all this is a double edged sword.

  5. And yet according to News and Messenger, a killer stalks among us. The person who killed Morgan Harrington has strong connections to Northern Virginia and Charlottesville. The connection is unclear. However, he represents a danger to all of us.

    Women in particular need to be careful.

  6. PWC Taxpayer

    I think Moon hit on a very important, very difficult topic when she mentioned the “dangers…and once an accusation is made, it is hard to pretend it didn’t happen. Those kinds of accusations can destroy careers just because some kid wants to get even.”

    The clergy, teaching, youth sports and even the scouts – positions of trust that we need and want in our communities – do seem to have their share of these problems. Retirees from the military or government who have special skills and experience with young people and who bring special knowledge and experiences with them are rightfully being warned off – to protect their families and income from these kinds of activities. There needs to be some risk to any child (family??) that makes this kind of accusation and there needs to be some way to let an adult give a child a hug and/or arm around the shoulder without being questioned. Balance I guess, but balance runs the risk of a creep like this guy getting through. Tough one.

  7. The earth is going to stop spinning. Taxpayer and I are agreeing. False accusation is a career breaker and kids are smart about it. Men are the most vulnerable.

  8. Black Velvet Reporter

    According to the black velvet blogger, all this perversion is because a generation of men was raised by women. Several women pointed out that mothers usually raise both boy and girl children. Those velvets sure have some strange ideas.

    Another of the velvets tells of a teacher and coach being accused of sodomy. The boy’s father killed him and he got off on a gun violation.

    Some velvets are all having a hissy fit over NAMBLA. This is all their fault. Others are blaming “the teachers’ union.”

    The howlers seem to be blaming the guy who did it.

    Maybe the black velvets just like talking about it and talking machismo. Real men kill sodomites.

    1. The video is not there. GLSEN does have outreach programs for kids who have already identified with a sexual orientation. Now…I am going to go out on a limb. If that was an organization that mentors known gay and lesbian kids, then I think his answer to the question was very appropriate. I have a friend who used to mentor these kinds of organizations. The membership is made up of kids who already have identified with a gender. The objective was to give them some basic sexual direction, same as a hetero kid would get but not for hetero kids. Why wouldn’t a GL etc kid need the same as a hetero kid?

      I don’t like to brand people because of their gender. He wasn’t recruiting. Big difference. I also consider the source on who was publishing that information. It had the Pope plastered all over it. He sure would be on shakey grounds saying this was a good thing.

      Promoting and answering questions are 2 different things. Did this video photographer happen to catch his answer on oral sex?

      I think it is difficult for straight people to accept that many gay kids know they are gay long before their first sexual experience.

      I am fortunate to have known my friend *Tom* who sort of taught me all this stuff. Being straight, much of what he taught me never occurred to me.

  9. Big Dog

    BVBL has declared our problems come from kids playing
    too much T-Ball!

    1. I guess I just don’t see the connection here. Must have something to do with tethering. Sarcasm here.

  10. Emma

    This is sickening. I blame first the slick sickos who use their charm to take advantage of (possibly confused) kids and trusting parents. And I blame a legal system that values deep pockets over justice. And school systems that care more about getting sued than protecting children. This is no different than Catholic bishops who knowingly allowed abusive priests to move from church to church collecting new victims. These Osbourn kids can’t catch a break, can they?

  11. The difference is that the Catholic Church is a closed society. They have more control over their own. They make their own rules. However, morally I see no difference.

    A school system has to go by privacy laws when dealing with personnel, the same as any other company, agency, etc. It really isn’t a choice. School systems have to protect privacy and children and obey the law while doing all this. It is quite a balancing act. On the other hand, was a child at Osbourn harmed?

  12. Again, I have to eat crow. According to the News and Messenger, a 16 year old Manassas boy was molested by creepy. I wouuld say allegedly but it pains me too much so I just won’t use his name. I try to believe in innocent until proven guilty but this dude makes it hard.

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