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.
PATH OF A PREDATOR: Where was Kevin Ricks?