A one James W. Ricketts molested me for about a year in 1979-80 or so. Not necessarily you, if you happened to be named James W. Ricketts, and not necessarily a James W. Ricketts that you may know. There could be several James W. Ricketts.
Some 40 years later, yes, he probably looks exactly like this guy.
The James W. Ricketts I am outing today lived in Ft. Lauderdale Florida in the cited time period, on Southwest 19th Street, just ajacent to I-95. For a year, he would pick me up from my then-home in the city, and take me to his house (and once his mother's) where he would go free, following a classical grooming process. This guy from my perspective of him in this world, was a classical textbook pedophile.
I believe I have a rich file on this guy chronicling a period from which he apparently left the VP bank position he held at the time, to opening and operating a barber shop in Dania Beach, Florida. From there it's a little ambiguous what he might have been doing with his time but following what I suspect to be the matched online records, he's done pretty well for himself financially.
He married his husband, who I suspect is his one-time roommate from the period I knew him, but which is speculation and irrelevant. I could reasonably assume the worst about him too since, while "sleeping over", I was in Mr. Rickett's bed while the roommate slept in the next room several instances over, but there's nothing to indicate in my mind he tangibly knew what was going on. A different time that it was, one might believe it to be innocuous. But of course, I'm probably being generous.
I believe my James W. Ricketts was the same person once criminally processed in North Carolina, and if so, I can certainly guess the nature of the crime. North Carolina doesn't provide as many details online as so many other jurisdictions do, so I can only guess. On the whole though, it is worth noting, he appears to have avoided any sex offender registry I've so far checked.
This James W. Ricketts came into my (our) life following the very disorganized period following my mother's divorce during those years. My mother had outreached to the Big Brother, Big Sisters program and tried to match us. It was an honorable and no doubt a fruitful move for millions of kids in equal situations, but in this case, it took a pretty dark and horrific turn.
The organization could not match us immediately, so there was a waiting list. Someone representing the program came to our home and interviewed each of us (meaning, my brother and my sister). I remember being walked around the block by this person being asked and answering all types of questions designed to help the matching process. Then he left and that was it.
While on the waiting list, however, the organization apparently ran intermediate outings and get-togethers such as cookouts and the like, and they sent invitations to myself and my siblings. On the day "of" one of the people who was not "exactly" a participating "Big Brother" per se, but, was apparently helping to chaperone everyone, was James W. Ricketts. We called him Jim.
Jim handled the day's events, but after, kept in touch. Keeping in touch led to him developing a relationship further, that included taking me out on weekends. That keeping in touch led to him getting physical, ever gradually, until all that keeping in touch led to touch, touch, touch.
It was awkward, weird, uncomfortable, and I took evasive action every Saturday to avoid it. He would try to schedule our outings or sleepovers together on that day of each week, but if I successfully managed to avoid doing that somehow, I might just as easily come home any given Saturday evening and find his car idling in our driveway, waiting ambush-style.
Uck. And as a 12-year-old (maybe 11) kid with the cordial blessing of the friendly interactions he had with my mother through his open car window, naive and blind to such audacious evil herself, I would go.
No I did not "tell" anyone then. And through most of my early to mid adulthood I did not tell anyone in authority. It was not until 2006 that I tried a round of calls starting with FDLE (the Florida Department of Law Enforcement), the Ft. Lauderdale Police, and the Broward County Sherriff's Office. I was inspired to finally act because at the time there was a political scandal involving a Senator I believe, and the details were jostling enough to make me realize how overdue for something so serious, and so potentially lethal to the well-being of another child, was.
And, probably part more true-crime-story fantasy than pertinent, James W. Ricketts once showed me a pair of little boy underwear belonging to someone much younger than me at the time. The thought crossed my mind while making these calls that this guy could be the Adam Walsh killer. Same era, same place, same sick behavior, and apparently off anyone's radar, so, maybe. Of course today they believe they have that guy, but, in 2006 I suggested it to one of the parties I had called.
I sounded a little over the top to myself at the time, so I didn't press that angle, but I did want to let police know this guy existed. I was a little over the top in suspecting an Adam Walsh tie-in, granted, but here's the thing: I remember the last day he picked me up from the hotel my family had temporarily moved into, just before we moved to Houston, Texas.
He picked me up and he just drove. None of the usual pedo-warmth, none of the engagement, just me sitting in the passenger's seat and him driving around the city to no place in particular. He was thinking, and, looking back, to me, it seems clear about what: It was the last time he would have access to and control over me. Could he live the rest of his life knowing I was out there with the truth, or could something else happen to prevent that?
So for me, the Adam Walsh potential connection wasn't entirely crazy, but I didn't want to eclipse the more actual and certain report I was making with a fantastical add-on. What I know is this guy likes to play with kids, and only maybe thinks about murdering them.
The problem with action turned out to be that I would have to prove locations and times etc., and properly report to the right jurisdiction. One particular deputy officer who I seemed to have noted as "Nitello" in my notes, invited me to call him back if I wasn't getting anywhere, and I am ashamed to say for all the time and focus it would have taken to do anything with, I did not accept that invitation when as it would prove to be, I didn't get anywhere.
And so, while freely discussing it to my friends and family since that limp report effort, I decided it was otherwise best to avoid the work of it, the legal trouble, and the risk of retribution that some upper middle class rich guy might decide to launch.
I still must feel that way because I am not waging a "campaign" against James W. Ricketts, even now in making this post. Rather, I am taking note that a man of his age must be ready to check out soon. At last check, yes, the guy is pushing his early-80s. There's data lag of course, he might even be dead today for all I know, having checked out before the "BeenVerifieds" of the web have had a chance to update their records.
I am taking note and just letting him know, or his legacy, that he didn't get away with it for all eternity, to the ignorance of everyone. In his final years on earth let him deal with the potential for people to match this post specifically to him. I might have just kept the lid on this, I am certainly not angry, and I don't feel "scarred" or permanently destroyed by him. Not sure what's up with that, I always feel like I should have been shooting up with drugs of the heroin sort by now, or having long since committed suicide because something bad happened to me of such scale, but I don't.
In making this post, I guess I just agree that I can't share the ambivalence to his favor. Doing that somehow marginalizes me and makes me impotent for the real things we have to stand up against in this world, in the time we have. I have to face the rest of my life knowing I matter and his crime selfish, and I have to advance the charge, risk and all. Should I fall back and live blissfully shrugging as I have, or should I do my part to re-balance the universe, possibly even to my darkest peril.
Decisions, decisions. *click*
By Dave for Personal Blog.