NEW: Trial Set For Former Teacher
Ritchie Accused Of Inappropriate Relationship With Student
A Rockingham County judge scheduled a trial for a former teacher who is accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a 16-year-old male student at Page County High School.
Harrisonburg resident Christopher Robert Ritchie Jr., who goes by his nickname, "C.J.," and taught at PCHS, is charged with two felony counts of taking indecent liberties with a child by a person in a custodial or supervisory position.
During a hearing in circuit court this morning, Judge Bruce Albertson scheduled Ritchie for jury trial on Aug. 19.
Ritchie was arrested in November by Mike Wagoner, a Page County Sheriff's Office investigator working with the Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Prosecutors say the crime took place in Rockingham County.
On Nov. 1, Ritchie, then a Spanish teacher, met the student at Valley Mall in Harrisonburg, according to an affidavit.
The affidavit states that the teacher and student went to Ritchie's home on Ridgeville Lane in Harrisonburg. There, the document states, the two watched movies and had sex.
Ritchie, who is no longer employed by the school system, confessed to the allegations, police say.
Sources close to the investigation say Ritchie targeted and groomed one of the most vulnerable students at the school. Sources say the victim didn't have an easy childhood and was living with his grandparents when the crime took place.
The investigation began when a school employee suspicious of Ritchie went to police.
Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6278 or firstname.lastname@example.org.