Longtime teacher Richard Pryor has admitted to FBI agents he began molesting children 41 years ago on out-of-state trips.
A criminal complaint unsealed Thursday says the trips continued after Pryor began molesting children he taught in September 1973.
The FBI arrested Pryor, 68, of Gulfport, Tuesday on suspicion of transporting minors with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. The charge is punishable by 10 years to life in prison plus post-release supervision of five years to life.
Pryor is held pending court hearings next week.
Pryor resigned his job as a geometry teacher at St. Patrick Catholic High School earlier this week. School district officials have confirmed Pryor is known for organizing private trips that aren’t associated with school functions.
The complaint alleges the molestation began while Pryor was a math teacher at Bayou View Junior High, now known as Bayou View Middle School, and involved students ages 13 and 14.
FBI agents interviewed two victims Monday and Tuesday and both said they were students at Bayou View Junior High when Pryor touched their private parts and fondled them while they were with him on trips, according to the complaint.
News of his arrest drew outrage Thursday from many parents, including several who told the Sun Herald the ongoing trips were sightseeing excursions for boys and were “invitation only.”
Parents of two St. Patrick students said their sons were invited on a recent trip with Pryor. One mother said her boy went on the trip; the other said she didn’t allow her son to go.
The first alleged victim claims the sexual abuse occurred from 1973 to 1975 on trips to California, Montana, Colorado and Oregon. The second alleged victim claims the abuse occurred in 1999 and 2000 and at least five times on a trip to Louisiana.
Pryor voluntarily recalled molesting other children on
trips to Texas in 2004 and California in 2005, a child in 1996, another child on a trip to Georgia about 30 years ago and a different child in the 1980s, the complaint said.
Pryor also was a student council adviser at St. Patrick. In 2008, the Mississippi State Association of Student Councils honored him for more than 25 years of service to the organization.