Roger Earl Rickman, 65, accused of molesting a 7-year-old girl of the congregation at the First Anointing Faith International Christian Church, where he is a pastor, appeared in Manteca court for further arraignment this morning. After discussing with his attorney the plea bargain offer from Deputy District Attorney Elton Grau, Rickman rejected the offer and opted to go to trial.
Rickman, no relation to the city councilman of the same last name, faces three life sentences, Grau said, for oral copulation on the victim, having the victim perform oral copulation on him, and sexual penetration, as well as 15-years-to-life for three counts of lewd acts upon a child.
During the hearing, Grau said Rickman admitted to oral copulation, but due to his rejection to the current plea bargain offer, Grau said his offer was now being taken off the table.
“We are willing to proceed, and no offer will be made by the people,” Grau said.
Rickman’s attorney entered a not guilty plea, and Judge Ron Northup set Rickman’s preliminary hearing for Aug. 5 at 8:30 a.m. in Manteca Superior Court.
During the hearing, Rickman sat shackled in orange county jail-issued clothing, and as he listened to the proceedings often hung his head.
Following the hearing, Grau said outside the Manteca court that he thought a potential resolution had been reached between the prosecution and the defense.
There was some question reportedly raised by parishioners of the church Rickman founded that the child may have lied about the incident, and Grau said he was angered when he heard those allegations. He said statistics show that a child under the age of 10 is unlikely to make up things regarding such incidents.
“There is a ton of evidence he is guilty of the charges filed,” Grau said.
Tracy police first learned about the alleged child molestation after a woman called police on June 20. She told officers her 7-year-old daughter told her their church pastor had the girl use a sex toy in his car when he drove her home from school.
Rickman was arrested by Tracy police on June 23 and remains in custody in San Joaquin County Jail in French Camp on $1,750,000 bail.
Rickman was the master chaplain for Tracy’s, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1537 and American Legion Post 172. He is also reportedly a private investigator, fluent in three foreign languages, holds several college degrees, and the author of three non-fiction books.