Michael Ritchie Arrested for Molesting a Man With Down Syndrome
57-year-old Michael Ritchie of Valparaiso, Indiana was been arrested and charged with criminal deviate conduct and sexual battery last Wednesday. The man is accused of sexually assaulting a man under his care at a group home he manages in Valparaiso.
Ritchie allegedly fondled and performed other sex acts on a 20-year-old Down Syndrome patient who lived at the group home on Heavilin Road. The company that operates the group home, InPact Incorporated has not made any comments but Ritchie was originally moved to an administrative position within the company so that he no longer had any direct contact with clients. They terminated his employment on August 31st, the day that InPact was informed of the results of the police investigation.
Supposedly InPact performs background checks but apparently that just extends to stuff that one has just been convicted of. One of the big problems with background checks and references from companies is that legally they can’t give you any unsubstantiated information. For instance, if I were to fire someone for theft, even if I caught them red-handed, if I can’t substantiate that with a legal conviction it is not legal for me to give that information to another company calling me for a job reference. All I am allowed to say is whether you worked for me or not and when you worked for me. Anything else presents a legal liability.
The young man lived in the group home for five years up until July when the man told his grandmother what had happened. She pulled him out of the home and reported the incidents to police. The man told police he had informed another staff member of the abuse but she just told him to sit on the couch.
Apparently Ritchie also operated a web site which included photo albums of small boys wearing only underwear and swim suits. Police have also said that they have received a bunch of reports in which Ritchie was accused of molesting small boys with learning disabilities including a couple made to Indiana Police as well as one other made to Valparaiso Police.
Ritchie worked at one time as a teacher at Lake Village Elementary but was dismissed back in the late ’80s after he was accused of inappropriately touching a student. Criminal charges were not pursued in that case.
According to police in one interview with Ritchie he claimed that “he can control himself and should continue to work with small children”. Yeah.
Ritchie made an initial court appearance yesterday and his bond has been set at $100,000.
After news of the charges were published another woman called police and told them that Ritchie had sexually molested her mentally challenged 13-year-old son at another InPact group home.