Former Haines City High School coach accused of sexually battering student in classroom closet

Suspect seen kissing victim on video, deputies say

Wayne McKenzie Ricks II (Polk County Jail)

HAINES CITY, Fla. – A former Haines City High School coach and teacher is accused of sexually battering a female student while they were both inside his classroom’s closet on at least 10 different occasions, according to the Haines City Police Department.

Records show one of the victim’s family members became aware of an inappropriate relationship with Wayne McKenzie Ricks II, 29, and reported it.

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While at school, Ricks would have the victim come to his classroom while he was alone and the two would have sex inside the classroom’s closet, according to authorities. Police said Ricks would text the girl to come to his class during school hours and provide an authorized pass for her.

Records show one of the victim’s friends saw the two go into the closet together 10 different times.

Authorities said they obtained videos that showed Ricks and the girl together at Halloween Horror Nights in October 2020 and kissing inside of Ricks’ classroom.

The abuse is believed to date back to at least October 2020.

Police said they also obtained phone records and other evidence showing the two made 80 calls to each other during a one-month period and exchanged at least 20 handwritten notes.

Records show Ricks was hired at Haines City High School on Aug. 31, 2020 and resigned on Saturday. He was an ESE teacher and junior varsity boys’ basketball coach who had no prior disciplinary action on his personnel file.

Ricks was arrested Tuesday night on 10 counts of custodial sexual battery on a victim between the ages of 12 and 18.

“This case of grooming serves as a reminder for parents to remain vigilant about who their children are around,” Haines City Police Chief Jim Elensky said in a news release. “We appreciate the hard work of our detectives and the cooperation we received from Haines City High School, Polk County Schools and the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office throughout the investigation. We will work diligently to make sure this predator is held responsible. If there are any additional victims or if anyone has any further information, we encourage them to contact 863-421-3636, ext.2239.”

About the Author:

Adrienne joined News 6's digital team in October 2016 to cover breaking news, crime and community interest stories. She graduated from the University of Central Florida and began her journalism career at the Orlando Sentinel.