A former fifth-grade teacher faces trial in Maricopa County Superior Court at 8 a.m. Monday, June 8.
Ricky Ordway, a former teacher at Peoria Unified School District’s Sun Valley Elementary School, faces two dozen sex abuse and molestation charges. His trial was first scheduled for April but, like many other cases, delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic that scrambled the court calendar.
A Peoria Police officer arrested Ordway May 14, 2019.
A week earlier, PUSD sent parents an email stating, “A student and parent brought allegations of inappropriate conduct to our attention and we immediately notified the Peoria Police Department.”
According to police reports and court documents, several of Ordway’s alleged offenses took place in 2019.
Josephine Hallam, Ordway’s attorney, filed a Nov. 26 petition asking the court to dismiss the case.
As part of her argument, Hallam said school staff and the principal heard “rumors” of Ordway having sex with students in December 2018.
According to Hallam’s Nov. 26 petition: “In an interview, the principal of Sun Valley Elementary School, Stephen Balliet, disclosed that there had previously been rumors about Mr. Ordway that had been investigated by the school in December of 2018. These allegations (came) about after a student was overheard by an aide telling another student that Mr. Ordway had sex with students.
“... Mr. Balliet addressed all four fifth-grade classes and instructed them to come forward and speak to him if they had a real concern about Mr. Ordway. No one came forward to speak to Mr. Balliet or make any disclosures about Mr. Ordway.”
Michael Minicozzi, Maricopa County deputy attorney, answered Hallam’s petition Dec. 2.
Minicozzi addressed all of Hallam’s claims that Ordway’s rights were violated.
“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 that 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. ...
“Additionally, many of the incidents in this case occurred after the principal talked to some of the students.”
Sun Valley Elementary School, near Northern Avenue and U.S. 101, is in Peoria but has many students who live in nearby Glendale.
Mark Rodrigues, a detective with the special victims unit of the Peoria Police Department, gave grand jury testimony Aug. 13.
Rodrigues stated that multiple girls in Ordway’s class stated the teacher called them to his desk and molested them during class.
Rodrigues stated Ordway denied touching the girls inappropriately. He did acknowledge that he called girls to his desk to assist them. The detective said Ordway confirmed he never called boys to his desk.
According to the May 14, 2019, arrest report, “I took (Ordway) into custody and brought him back to the station. During a post-Miranda interview, (Ordway) denied all the allegations and said the victims were lying about the allegations.”
Ordway, a Peoria resident at the time of his arrest who has since moved to Phoenix near Glendale, continued to maintain he is innocent during preliminary court proceedings.