DANVILLE – A former Danville teacher with no record of complaints from the local school system has been exposed as a possible sexual predator with a history spanning decades in multiple states.
Kevin G. Ricks, 49, was arrested in Prince William County in February and was indicted on felony charges of aggravated sexual battery, sodomy and two counts of indecent liberties stemming from a December incident, according to court records. Ricks has a court hearing Thursday in which he is expected to plead guilty to one count of indecent liberties with a minor under his supervision, according to The Washington Post.
In a massive four-month investigation, The Washington Post uncovered Ricks’ history in a story Sunday, revealing the former teacher spent time living and teaching in Danville from 1995 to late 2000. According to the Post, Ricks continuously hosted “dozens of students” through a foreign exchange program at his Marshall Terrace home.
Juliet Jennings, assistant superintendent of human services for Danville Public Schools, began working with DPS a few months after Ricks was hired as a full-time teacher in 1997, although she said she did not remember him. According to DPS records, Ricks worked as a substitute teacher from 1995-97 before the school system hired him to work as a full-time teacher for the 1997-98 school year.
“We had no complaints about him,” Jennings said, “in terms of his interactions with students as a substitute or a teacher. That never came to us.”
Jennings said the foreign exchange program, Education First, had no affiliation with DPS, and the students Ricks hosted did not attend Danville Public Schools. School officials’ first inkling of any problems with Ricks came in March when a Post reporter called about his employment history here, Jennings said.
Ricks worked as a high school English teacher at Langston Focus School, where at the time the campus was split into four “schools” of focus areas, such as literature or science. That structure was disbanded more than eight years ago and the Langston campus currently serves as an alternative high school for at-risk students.
Although Ricks did not have his teaching license, Jennings said, it was policy at that time to grant a new hire one year to obtain his or her full license. But Ricks failed to get his license by the end of the school year, and DPS dismissed him. Jennings said he continued to work for the school system as a substitute teacher until November 2000.
Jennings noted that the district’s current policy for obtaining a teaching license gives new hires 30 days to obtain a license.
Hiring procedures require extensive background checks, which include running a candidate’s fingerprints through the FBI database and conducting Child Protective Services checks. Jennings said Ricks passed both checks.
“Looking at it from a human resources standpoint,” she said, “the only other way the information could have been shared is from reference checks. Reference checks were made (on Ricks), but the information, were it known, was not shared.
“… Without a conviction, unless information is shared (through references), we wouldn’t know. That’s what hurts school systems.”
Although there were no allegations on record during Ricks’ tenure with Danville Public Schools, Jennings said the news of his exploits was “disgusting.”
“It’s not something that good educators need to have haunting them,” she said. “It just makes me angry.”
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