School Vice Principal Accused Of Child Molestation Appears In Court

Don Ricketts Pleads Not Guilty

Fairfax School District Superintendent Mike Coleman shook his head repeatedly as he reviewed the district attorney's criminal complaint against Fairfax Middle School Vice Principal Donald Ricketts.

"Upsetting, shocking, disappointing -- just makes you mad. We're educators. It goes completely against the grain of what we do," said Coleman.

Three girls are accusing Ricketts of sexually molesting them. Ricketts faces seven charges of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14 years of age with the intent of arousing, appealing to or gratifying lust. He also has one count of annoying a child and multiple enhancements.

Ricketts pleaded not guilty in his arraignment Wednesday afternoon. With the allegations being up to six years old, his attorney, H.A. Sala, questions why they were filed only recently.

"If these allegations were founded, why didn't they come to light at the time they happened? That makes me highly suspicious as to the reliability to the allegations," said Sala.

Sala said one witness was extremely uncooperative with investigators.

"And that speaks volumes to her lack of credibility," said Sala.

In the police reports, one of the girls said Ricketts kissed her on the mouth at least once. Another girl said Ricketts touched her breasts on six occasions and touched her genitals on three occasions.

Coleman said Ricketts underwent rigorous background checks before being hired into the district.

"Anything you do, you're not going to truly get an idea of somebody. There's a lot of things that can happen. I can't remember anything like this happening in the past. We've been around since 1891," said Coleman.

Ricketts' status with the district has been changed from paid administrative leave to unpaid leave.

"Technically, he's still an employee of the district -- innocent until proven guilty stuff," said Coleman.

"I hope people in the community follow the rule of law and presume that Mr. Ricketts is innocent and that we are afforded his day in court," said Sala.

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