The long arm of the law against sex predators caught up with Micky Rife, a former teacher at an International School in Phnom Penh.
He had pleaded guilty in Kentucky to engaging and attempting to engage in illicit sexual conduct with two minor females while he traveled and resided in Cambodia.
Federal law prohibits an American citizen or resident to travel to a foreign country with intent to engage in any form of sexual conduct with a minor (defined as persons under 18 years of age). It is also illegal to help organize or assist another person to travel for these purposes.
Rife was arrested by the U.S. Marshals Service in January 2019, following allegations made against him of sexual assault on children.
Homeland Security officials reported they began investigating Rife in 2018 after receiving an allegation that he had sexually assaulted a 5-year-old girl. That investigation turned up other allegations of sexual abuse allegedly perpetrated by Rife, DHS records stated.
Micky Rife entered Cambodia in September 2012 and didn’t return to the USA until December 2018.
According to previously released court documents, in February 2018 the US embassy law enforcement agents received info about Rife allegedly sexually assaulting a five year old student.
The allegations came from Rife’s ex-girlfriend. They were in a long term relationship and had adopted a child, who was about two years old, and the ex-girlfriend was concerned that Rife was also sexually assaulting the daughter.
Notably, the FBI at the US embassy had received information on 2013 about Rife and his unusual behavior with students. They worked with APLE to investigate that but no substantial evidence could be established.
When the ex reported Rife to the embassy in Februray 2018, the embassy folks also interviewed the former vice principal of the school who told them Rife had received a written warning about inappropriate behavior with students back in 2013 and provided a copy of that document.
This former vice principal said she knew of two children at the school who had been molested by Rife, one in 2013 and one in 2015.
The embassy interviewed parents and former students who reported Rife’s improper touching and as a result of that, the school fired Rife in December 2018 and he returned to the USA.
Upon landing in the USA Rife was referred to secondary screening by CBP officers who had flagged him, though he had not yet been charged with a crime.
The CBP officer found a notebook in Rife’s luggage with notes on what he believed to be Rife’s child’s bathroom usage. Rife told the officer he was a teacher in Cambodia and had left his recent employment on good terms.
There were text messages on his phone asking him “Why did you leave? Did you do something bad?”
On Thursday, January 16, Micky Rife, 36, formerly of Salyersville, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove Rife is scheduled to be sentenced on May 27, 2020.
He faces up to 30 years in prison and lifetime supervised release, and a maximum fine of $250,000. However, any sentence will be imposed by the Court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal sentencing statutes.