Kolbe Cathedral athletic director charged with sex assault at Stratford home, officials say

CT Post [Bridgeport, CT]

July 26, 2023

By Daniel Tepfer

The athletic director of Kolbe Cathedral High School has been charged with sexually assaulting one of his former female students, police said.

Roderick Ricketts, 44, who has also served as a physical education teacher and coach at the Roman Catholic high school since 2003, was charged by Stratford police with fourth-degree sexual assault.

He was released after posting $50,000 bond pending arraignment on Monday in Superior Court. Ricketts’ lawyer, John R. Gulash, declined comment.

Police said a 19-year-old woman complained that Ricketts molested her on June 7 while she was babysitting his children at his Stratford home.

“The diocese has been made aware that Mr. Rod Ricketts, athletic director at Kolbe High School, has turned himself in to Stratford Police relating to a charge of 4th degree sexual assault,” diocese spokesperson Brian Wallace said. “He has denied the allegation and has fully cooperated with police. Mr. Ricketts, a 20-year employee of Kolbe Cathedral High School, has been placed on administrative leave pending the result of the investigation.”

Wallace said the diocese’s understanding of the situation “is that the alleged incident did not involve a minor or a current student, and there is no indication that it happened on school grounds. It is important to note that as part of his tenure as a member of the Kolbe faculty, Mr. Ricketts submitted to a criminal background check and was fingerprinted as part of the diocesan Safe Environments program. He has also participated in Virtus Training. The diocese has a zero tolerance policy related to sexual abuse of minor and vulnerable adults.”

According to the arrest warrant affidavit, the woman told detectives she has known Ricketts since she was 5 years old. He was her coach at Kolbe Cathedral and she has been babysitting his children since she was a freshman at the school.

The woman told detective that on June 7 she was in Ricketts’ home babysitting his children when he came into the house stating he had forgotten his computer charger, the affidavit states. Ricketts then came up to the woman, put his head on her shoulder and asked the woman for a kiss, according to the affidavit.

When the woman refused to kiss him, the affidavit states Ricketts pulled on the girl’s shirt and sexually assaulted her. The woman got up to leave the room and Ricketts grabbed her behind and told her, “We’ll talk about this later,” the affidavit states.

The affidavit states that when police confronted Ricketts with the woman’s allegations, he admitted he had hugged the woman but added, “I swear I never touched that girl.”

The affidavit alleges other instances when Ricketts was inappropriate with female students, but police said none of those allegations are the subject of charges at this time.