Sexual abuse case involving PHS teacher goes to grand jury

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PARKERSBURG, West Virginia (WTAP) - Updated: 2/8/2019 5:30 P.M.

A Parkersburg High School teacher, accused of reportedly sexually abusing a 17-year-old student. waived his preliminary hearing Friday afternoon.

The case of Bradley Ritchie, 47, now goes to the Wood County Grand Jury, which will consider an indictment.


UPDATED 2/02/2019 5:30 p.m.

On Saturday, WTAP spoke with the agency that is investigating a case against a Parkersburg High School teacher.

Friday night, 47 year old Bradley Ritchie was arraigned in Wood County Magistrate Court.

The criminal complaint states that the victim was 17 years old at the time of the incident, and a male student at Parkersburg High School under Ritchie's supervision.

The incident allegedly happened at Ritchie’s home, where he advised that the victim was staying with him at his residence where the two would both sleep on a small sectional. The complaint states one night while the student was asleep Ritchie touched the student inappropriately.

Parkersburg Police conducted the interview and Chief Joe Martin says that an objective of the department is to decrease exposure to these kinds of situations for as many children as possible.

“Ultimately our goal is to minimize these type of people, exposing them to our school kids or kids in general. That’s something that we take as very high priority. Once this case was assigned and having him give some kind of a confession in a two week period, to me I’m happy…hopefully he won’t be around or exposed to any other children in the future,” says Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin.

Ritchie will have a probable cause hearing regarding the incident within the next 10 days.

UPDATE 2/01/2019 11:40 PM

A Parkersburg High School teacher was arraigned Friday night in Wood County Magistrate Court.

Bradley Ritchie, 47, is charged with with one felony count of sexual abuse by parent, guardian, custodian, or person of trust.

The criminal complaint states that the victim was 17 years old at the time of the incident, and a male student at Parkersburg High School under Ritchie's supervision.

Allegations of inappropriate behavior between Ritchie and the student prompted an investigation.

Upon questioning, Ritchie confirmed to knowing the student, as he was a student of his, but “considered him to be more of a son, than a student." Ritchie denied anything inappropriate happening between them and agreed to come in for a follow up interview.

During the second interview Ritchie’s story changed, advising that while the student was staying with him at his residence, the two would sleep together on a small sectional. The complaint states one night while the student was asleep Ritchie touched the student inappropriately.

Ritchie also admitted to sending several inappropriate messages to the student, but told police “those were just done as a joke.” The criminal complaint says Ritchie denied any inappropriate activity while the two were at PHS, stating that everything that happened was done while the student stayed with him at his residence, but Ritchie did admit to taking the student out to lunch, alone, while at school on several occasions. At the time of the incident, Ritchie was 46 years old.

A representative from Wood County Schools was in attendance at the arraignment.

Ritchie told Magistrate Robin Waters Friday night in court that he is married with 3 children under the age of 18. When asked, Waters told Ritchie he may not have contact with his children.

Bond is set at $150,000.


ORIGINAL STORY 2/01/2019 10:44 PM

A Parkersburg High School teacher appeared in court for reportedly sexually abusing a 17-year-old student.

The teacher's name is Bradley Ritchie.

This is a developing story and we'll work to add more details.

The Wood County Superintendent of Schools issued this statement:

"Mr. Ritchie has been on administrative leave since mid January. Since then, the Wood County BOE and Parkersburg police department have been actively involved investigating the complaint. At this point, we will let the legal process work and take action accordingly.

Due to personnel matters, this is all I can comment at this time."



 
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