The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating former Georgia School Administrator, Ryan Rickard, on multiple charges in three different Georgia Counties: Morgan County, Oconee County, and Walton County.
Rickard has been accused of sexually abusing students in all three counties. He was an assistant principal at Morgan County High School, a teacher at North Oconee High School, a student teacher at Burke County High School, and an athletic director at Memorial Middle School.
According to the GBI, the alleged sexual assaults occurred between 2011 and 2017, and the victims, as of now, are all between the ages of 14 and 16. Rickard has previously been investigated for attempting to access child pornography. Both the GBI and the Department of Homeland Security have been working with the Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit as the investigation currently has elements of both federal and state-level criminal offenses. Rickard was put on leave and eventually resigned from the Morgan County School System. Authorities have inspected all of Rickard's government-issued electronics, and the investigation is still on-going.
Right now, Rickard is facing several Georgia charges including sexual battery and rape. As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I will outline the offense of sexual battery in Georgia as it's commonly confused with sexual assault much like the offenses of Georgia battery and Georgia assault are commonly mixed up.
Sexual Battery in Georgia
Sexual battery is defined by Georgia law as O.C.G.A. §16-6-22.1, and it reads as follows:
(a) For the purposes of this Code section, the term "intimate parts" means the primary genital area, anus, groin, inner thighs, or buttocks of a male or female and the breasts of a female.
(b) A person commits the offense of sexual battery when he or she intentionally makes physical contact with the intimate parts of the body of another person without the consent of that person.
If convicted of sexual battery will be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. However, if the offense was against a child under the age of 16 years old the crime is elevated to a felony and will come with a prison term between one and five years.
Upon a second or subsequent conviction, a person will be guilty of a felony and face a prison term between one and five years.