From the Twin Cities (Star-Tribune) comes the story of a high school coach, notorious for abusive treatment of his players, now finds himself notorious for explicit text messages to minors. Oh yeah, he blames it on Tourette Syndrome.
With new allegations in Orono and Roseville, Maplewood police are broadening their investigation of a former boys' basketball coach who was charged last week with harassing former players with obscene text messages.
Youth basketball insiders are surprised by the sexual charges against Matthew S. Ricker, who has no criminal history. But out-and-out browbeating, they said, is a familiar story...
Ricker, 31, is charged in Ramsey County District Court with sexually harassing three Hill-Murray high school players whom he had coached last season and with allegedly offering $500 to a 17-year-old boy to engage in oral sex.
Since then, Orono police reported that a boy received a sexually explicit instant message in April from Ricker. And a teenage boy in Roseville has accused Ricker of inappropriate e-mail stalking.
Now he blames Tourette Disorder, a syndrome of motor and vocal tics. Less than 10% of the patients, suffer from coprolalia, which are obscene vocal tics:
A search of Ricker's Plymouth home last week turned up sexually explicit material, male pornography and an Orono basketball program with some of the boys' pictures cut out, according to a warrant filed in Hennepin County. Ricker was a volunteer assistant coach at Orono High School in the 2005-06 season.
The search warrant cited an Orono police report that said a boy got an instant message from Ricker on April 25 asking how experienced he was with girls and whether he ever masturbated.
In the criminal complaint filed against him, Ricker told police he attributes his problems to Tourette's syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
We have over 700 outpatients with Tourette, and believe us, none exhibit this kind of antisocial medical symptom.
A child and adolescent psychiatrist who is considered an expert in Tourette's said that it can cause involuntary vocalizations, including profane outbursts.
"But this is not a tic behavior," said Dr. Bart Main, who works in Eagan and has no direct knowledge of the case. "This sounds like very complex, planned, elaborate behavior that does not qualify as a tic at all."
This guy has a history as a jerk:
"When my mother called me to say a coach had been arrested for harassment, I said, 'Is it Matt Ricker?' Who else would it be?" Ryan Champ said.
Champ, 22, was a teenager when he played two seasons for Ricker in Maple Grove.
"I quit because I didn't like the way he was treating some people and mean stuff he would say, and the swearing," said Champ, now a senior at the University of Minnesota, where he's studying to become a teacher and coach.
After Champ quit Ricker's team in 2000, his father, Tim Champ, asked a Hennepin County judge for a restraining order against the coach. Ricker, he said, was angry about Ryan's quitting and other criticisms of his coaching.
According to that court petition, Ricker left repeated and threatening voice-mail messages at the Champs' home and Tim Champ's office.
One said: "You know what I am capable of. I am going to take things into my own hands if you do not contact me within 48 hours. This is a warning. You will not get away with this."
The coach blames all his trouble on his medical condition:
Klinkhammer said Ricker has "used his Tourette's syndrome all his life to get his butt out of trouble."Every time we'd call him onto the carpet for his actions on the court, he'd come in and say: 'You can't do anything about it because it's part of my disability,' " Klinkhammer said.