La Habra Teacher under Investigation for Sexually Abuse of Students

February 24, 2017

A former Chicago teacher is currently under police investigation in both California and Illinois after allegations arose that he sexually abused dozens of students. Back in 1970s and 1980s, Charles Ritz was a teacher in the north Chicago suburb of Lake Bluff, after which he then taught for 30 years in Southern California. Ritz is now 66 years old and accused of sexually abusing dozens of students.

The school board in La Habra where Ritz worked has initiated an investigation into the sexual abuse allegations, and the school board in Illinois was also asked to start one. At a recent Lake Bluff School Board meeting, one of Ritz’s alleged victims spoke up: “I am the first abuse victim of Charles Ritz in Lake Bluff,” Jim Moss told the audience at the meeting.

Moss described to the Lake Bluff School Board his darkest secret—that his teacher Charles Ritz molested him in 1978. Moss requested that Ritz’s conduct during his 10 years in Illinois be investigated by a special independent counsel. He also provided a petition signed by 300 former students, including at least 30 other victims.

“Charles Ritz is a predator: In a short span of a time in Lake Bluff Ritz progressed from providing students with pornography, alcohol and conducting inappropriate touching to conducting the most horrific acts imaginable,” Moss said.

Another alleged victim, who said he encouraged police to start the investigation, alleged Ritz wooed students with beer and pornography while he was a teacher at Lake Bluff Junior High. School documents said he made “sexual advances” toward students.

School records and police reports show that Ritz was formally accused by at least four students prior to teaching in La Habra High, but he was never arrested or charged. Records show the Lake Bluff School District and the County State’s Attorney’s Office were notified in 1985 about Ritz’s alleged conduct in separate incidents in Illinois and Florida.

In California, the La Habra School District—where Ritz retired last year after teaching math for 30 years—is hiring a special investigator.

Ritz began teaching in Orange County in September 1986 after allegations surfaced in Illinois of unacceptable behavior with students in 1985. Ritz was facing termination from the Lake Bluff schools and was permitted to resign. He was paid a $22,000 severance; however, the sex abuse allegations were apparently never reported to police, prosecutors, or his next employer in California.

The attorneys at the Cifarelli Law Firm have found that most predators will try to meet their victims where the young victims feel safe. In many cases, like that of Charles Ritz, the abuser is an adult who has earned their trust because of their positions within an organization, such as a math teacher at their school.

Our children rely on teachers and other adults to protect their health and safety. When this trust is broken and children are injured, the Cifarelli Law Firm will fight for their rights to live a life free of abuse and torture. That’s why our attorneys specialize in filing suits against abusers and the organizations who cover up their behavior in order to hold all who abuse or molest minors accountable for their reprehensible acts.

The Cifarelli Law Firm has experience advocating on behalf of young victims of molestation and abuse. Our attorneys are well-versed in all aspects of child abuse and molestation. We are compassionate and understanding, but aggressive and experienced enough to fight for the rights of young people. The attorneys and staff at the Cifarelli Law Firm work to defend the rights of children, and we will work tirelessly to protect yours. Call us today to arrange for a consultation at (949) 502-8600.

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