A 29-year-old teacher in Haines City, Florida was arrested on Tuesday, January 26, for allegedly having a sexual "relationship" with one of his students.
Wayne McKenzie Ricks II was taken into custody at a relatives house in Osceola, Fl and charged with 10 counts of sexual battery against a student that, insiders say, he'd been having sex with since the fall.
According to reports, Ricks, an ESE teacher and junior varsity basketball coach, would have the victim come to his classroom while he was alone and the two would have sex in a closet. A student and friend of the victim would reportedly be present in the classroom at the time and told police the two did this on 10 occasions.
Ricks and the victim allegedly spent time together off campus as well, dating back to at least October.
The police department said detectives were able to obtain video of what appeared to be Ricks and the student kissing inside the classroom. Another video reportedly showed the two together at Universal Studios in October, and they were also seen at a youth basketball game in Sebring in early January.
Police said Ricks had contact with the student via text and social media, and provided more than 20 handwritten notes detailing their relationship, signed by Ricks under an alias.
Additionally, more than 80 phone calls were made between the two in less than a month’s span between December and January, police said. Ricks also allegedly provided the victim with gifts like shoes, clothes, and exercise equipment.
The authorities were tipped off about Ricks and the young girl when a family member suspected something was amiss and called the police. Ricks has been employed at the school since Aug. 31, 2020 but, he voluntarily resigned on Jan. 23, 2021, just days before he was arrested.
This case should definitely encourage parents to become more aware of who their children are with, what they're doing and to be more vigilant about time spent alone with other adults. Even if it is on school property. Some teens think that having a "relationship" with teachers, or other adults, is something cool and makes them seem more grown up but, it's actually just grooming for something that is illegal and the adult should know better.