Canyon County Sheriff's investigators are asking parents who believe their children may have come into contact with Joshua Curtis Ritchie to contact them at 454-7480. The sheriff's office says the Nampa man has admitted to sexually touching 13 children between the ages of 5 and 12, including some from his own family.
The 23-year-old was arrested Tuesday night and charged with one count of lewd conduct with a minor. The maximum penalty for the charge is life in prison. The criminal complaint accuses Ritchie of lewd conduct with a 5-year-old on or between Feb. 1 and Aug. 12.
Ritchie was arraigned early Wednesday afternoon and is being held on $2.5 million bond at the Canyon County Jail, Canyon County Prosecutor Bryan Taylor said at a 3 p.m. press conference at the courthouse in Caldwell.
Canyon County Sheriff Chief Criminal Deputy Kieran Donahue said the case is a reminder that "sexual abuse of children is a very real problem that needs to be addressed in all over our communities."
Ritchie worked at the Cornerstone Childcare at 7694 Birch Lane in Nampa. He also worked at the Idaho Arts Charter School and was recently hired to do lunchroom work at the Nampa School District, according to officials and court documents. Officials had no information on how long Ritchie worked at the daycare, or in what capacity he worked at the charter school.
The manager at Cornerstone Child Care declined to comment Wednesday afternoon, other than to say that the daycare is cooperating fully with police.
An investigation into Ritchie's conduct was initiated last week, after a parent notified sheriff's deputies that her 5-year-old son had reported that Ritchie had asked her son to touch his penis on several occasions. The boy told investigators that the inappropriate touching occurred when he was sitting with Ritchie on the couch in the daycare office and while they played "Angry Birds" or hide-and-go-seek.
A detective called Ritchie and posed as the father of the boy, according to the probable cause affidavit. Ritchie admitted to the detective that the boy had touched his penis one time. When asked if he was experimenting, Ritchie responded, "Uh huh."
In an interview at the sheriff's office Tuesday, Ritchie admitted that he had the boy touch him in a sexual manner on three occasions, beginning in June, according to the affidavit. During two of the incidents, other children were present in the room, Ritchie told investigators.
The sheriff's office says Ritchie gave his consent to search his home at 219 20th Avenue North in Nampa. He said he had two different media devices that contained child porn.
Ritchie has no prior criminal record. A preliminary hearing has been set for 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 5.
Katy Moeller: 377-6413