HAINES CITY, Fla. (WFLA) — A Haines City High School teacher was arrested Tuesday and charged with having sex with a student on multiple occasions.
Wayne McKenzie Ricks II, 29, was arrested in Osceola County on 10 counts of sexual battery on a student multiple times since fall, including on Haines City High School campus.
“This case of grooming serves as a reminder for parents to remain vigilant about who their children are around,” Police Chief Jim Elensky said.
According to police, 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 investigation into Ricks began after a family member of the victim learned of their relationship and reported it.
Ricks was hired by the school on Aug. 31, 2020 and resigned on Jan. 23, 2021. He had no prior disciplinary action on his school file.
Ricks was arrested at a family member’s home Tuesday night and transported to the Osceola County Jail.