There has been another delay in the trial of former teacher Ricky Ordway, accused of molesting multiple students in his Sun Valley Elementary School classroom near the Peoria/Glendale border.
He was first scheduled to go to trial in January 2020 on two dozen sex abuse and molestation charges.
After multiple delays, the trial is now scheduled for April 1 — nearly two years after a Peoria police officer arrested Ordway.
Ordway, who has consistently proclaimed his innocence, is out on bail.
Ordway, a Peoria resident at the time of his arrest, later moved to the West Phoenix/Glendale area.
Court records show Ordway was investigated by Sun Valley Elementary School six months before he was arrested.
Most of the allegations against Ordway took place in the fall 2018. Four of the alleged crimes took place between January 2018 and May 2019, after what the prosecution called a December “mini-investigation” of Ordway.
Six months after his arrest, Josephine Hallam, Ordway’s attorney, asked the court to dismiss the case. Hallam claimed prosecutors violated Ordway’s rights.
Hallam said school staff and the principal heard “rumors” of Ordway acting inappropriately with students in Dec. 2018.
“In an interview, the principal of Sun Valley Elementary School, Stephen Balliet, disclosed there were previous rumors Mr. Ordway was investigated by the school in Dec. 2018. These allegations (came) about after a student was overheard by an aide telling another student Mr. Ordway had sex with students,” Hallam said in her petition.
“(Two) students were interviewed by the principal and told the principal they had never been touched by Mr. Ordway nor had they seen anyone else be touched by Mr. Ordway. This investigation led to Mr. Balliet speaking to approximately 15 students. Each of those students claimed to have heard it from someone else but none of them were able to give an account of a true allegation.”
Michael Minicozzi, a Maricopa County deputy attorney, confirmed Hallam’s claims the school heard “rumors” about Ordway.
“About five months before these allegations were investigated by the police, the principal of the elementary school conducted his own investigation brought on by some rumors he had heard about the defendant acting inappropriately with some of the children,” Minicozzi said.
“The principal spoke with several students in the defendant’s class but ultimately, no one disclosed anything specific. The defendant believes this information should have been shared with the grand jury. However, nothing about this ‘mini-investigation’ conducted by the principal, clearly negates the defendant’s guilt or would deter the grand jury from finding probable cause in this case.”
Mark Rodrigues, a detective with the special victims unit of the Peoria Police Department, told a grand jury multiple girls in Ordway’s class stated the teacher called them to his desk and molested them during class.
Rodrigues stated Ordway denied touching girls inappropriately. He did acknowledge he called girls to his desk to assist them. The detective said Ordway confirmed he never called boys to his desk.
After working in the school nurse’s office, Ordway was hired as a teacher at Sun Valley in the fall of 2017.
Sun Valley Elementary School, near Northern Avenue and U.S 101, is in Peoria but has many students who live in nearby Glendale.
Managing Editor Tom Scanlon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.