Rickard, 32, of Bishop, was previously under federal investigation for attempting to access child pornography online, according to the GBI. The Department of Homeland Security requested assistance from the GBI’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit because the investigation had elements of federal and state crimes.
Rickard was immediately placed on administrative leave during the federal investigation, Morgan County School System Superintendent James Woodard said in a lengthy statement to the Morgan County Citizen. Woodard said authorities inspected Rickard's government-issued electronics and determined he did not use them to access child pornography. Rickard did not return to the school afterward and instead resigned, Woodard said.
“During the months leading up to the arrest, Morgan County High School Administration cooperated fully with law enforcement officials from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security,” Woodard said in the statement. “... We take the safety of our students seriously and took immediate action once contacted by law enforcement. We will continue to work with law enforcement to determine the extent of the behaviors that led to his arrest and will act in accordance with the information in the best interest of our students and their families.”
Rickard was booked into the Oconee County jail.
Before Morgan County High School, Rickard was a teacher at North Oconee High School in Watkinsville, a teacher and athletic director at Memorial Middle School in Conyers and a student teacher at Burke County High School.
“Child sexual abuse inflicts lifelong mental and physical scars on its victims and the added abuse of power in this case makes the crime even more egregious,” Nick Annan, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations Atlanta, said in a statement.
According to Rickard's LinkedIn page, he began working as a licensed Realtor with Keller Williams in January. A woman who answered the phone Friday at Keller Williams' Watkinsville office said Rickard was still employed there.
In other news:
Two men wearing traditional Walmart uniforms tried to steal $3,268 worth of merchandise from a Peachtree City store on June 29, police said.