MCPS Employee Faces Sex Charges

Thomas Henry Ridges | MCPD

A man who worked at a child care company and for Montgomery County Public Schools faces sex charges, Montgomery County police said Monday.

Thomas Henry Ridges, 38, of Chase Terrace in Beltsville, has been charged with two counts of sexual abuse of a minor and a fourth-degree sexual offense, according to online court records.

Police said the fourth-degree sex offense related to inappropriate touching of a girl, 16, and his inappropriate sexual conversation with and proposition of the victim.

Police said Ridges’ came into contact with the victim as his role as an employee of Horizon Child Care Inc., which operates after-school programs around Silver Spring.

At the time of these offenses, Ridges was also an MCPS paraeducator and a coach for Springbrook High School Boys Junior Varsity Basketball team, police said.

On Sept. 5, detectives were told of a possible sexual abuse of a minor, police said.

Investigators determined that on July 20, Ridges offered to drive the victim home from the Horizon facility in Silver Spring and the victim accepted, police said.

Ridges did not drive toward the victim’s home; instead, he began to ask the victim if she remembered a time when she was 14 years old and was at a local pool as a camper at Horizon’s summer camp program, police said.

Ridges told the victim that he had touched her in a private area and that it was purposeful. The victim had previously believed the touching was accidental, police said.

As Ridges continued driving around, he tried to engage the victim in a sexual conversation and posed inappropriate questions to include asking her about her previous sexual encounters, asking her about drinking alcohol (as her parked in front of a liquor store), and asking her to send naked photographs of herself to him via cell phone, police said. Ridges also propositioned the victim to engage in sexual acts with him during the car ride.

On Sept. 14, investigators obtained an arrest warrant for Ridges. He was arrested then and taken to the Central Processing Unit. Online court records show he posted a $5,000 bond.

In a letter that went home to parents Monday, Springbrook Principal Arthur Williams said Ridges has been placed on administrative leave from MCPS.

He said Ridges was hired in September 2005 and worked at Burnt Mills Elementary School as a lunch hour aide until 2006. He also worked at Francis Scott Key Middle School as a lunch hour aide and special education paraeducator from 2006 to 2007, Williams said.

He had worked at Springbrook as a paraeducator since August 2007, the principal said.

Detectives are requesting that parents of juveniles who attend Horizon Child Care or who have had contact with Ridges to talk to their children. The Special Victims Investigations Division can be reached at 240-773-5400.


Like this post? Sign up for our Daily Update here.


| Comments are closed.

Engage us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter