An unfortunate JET story

Other than Big Daikon, I’m not sure where this story was shared on the [expat] net. Last month in Maryland, a teacher was arrested on a charge of abusing minors. The accused, Kevin Ricks, had been a JET in Kyushu in the early 1990’s.

As the Washington Post reports in a timeline:

Going overseas with the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET), he moved to Kyushu, the nation’s southernmost island, to teach English. Hired as a town teacher in Oguni, he was treated like a rock star and befriended many local youths. He had a special living space called “Kevin’s Room” where he regularly gathered with young boys. After Ricks married on Dec. 20, 1992, Abby Ricks joined him in Japan.

In 1994, Ricks took one boy, T K, on a trip to the United States and drove across the country with him. In a California hotel room, Ricks gave K shots of tequila until he passed out, K said. Law enforcement officials say Ricks then made nude videotapes and photographs of K while molesting him.

Ricks left Japan in 1995 after he was accused of shoplifting and school officials refused to renew his contract.

Although Kevin Ricks was apparently able to evade detection for several decades, you have to wonder whether some of this JET “exchange” treatment gave the guy the perfect cover to do bad things.

That’s another reason I say Japan should scrap JET in favor of a “Teach for Japan” program.