The Ricky Malee Story

By Harry M. Covert

Now that the president and Congress are still playing chicken heading toward a national crisis, I want to describe another ongoing calamity involving a convicted sex abuser.

No doubt, the road to perdition is gaining a great number of inhabitants on the national front.

The alleged “sins” of a 58-year-old Maryland man are receiving much needed attention.

Cameron Dodd, a young and adept newspaper reporter for The Frederick News-Post, recently pointed out the tragedy of Ricky Malee in a blazing front page, big story.

The facts: a Frederick County, Maryland Circuit Court jury in 2001 found the then 40-year-old man guilty of sexually molesting his then wife’s two boys, then aged seven and three.

Malee had served in the Army. He had numerous run-ins with the law. He was not unfamiliar with getting into trouble.

But, today, Malee is in the Cumberland, Maryland, maximum security prison serving the 18th year of a 450-year sentence. This is no typographical error — 450 years without possibility of parole. In other words death by days.

This is a crisis of immense magnitude. In all probability, this is not an isolated case in the nation’s incarceration facilities. Call them correction facilities if you will, but they are penitentiaries, prisons.

Among the facts uncovered by Reporter Dodd are that today, the boys are adults. They are 30 and 26. Both swear and affirm now that Malee committed no such sexual acts involving them. They say they feel guilty that Malee is imprisoned for crimes he did not commit.

However, their recanting of any abuse has fallen on deaf ears in numerous appeals to higher courts.

Malee has always denied molesting the children. The boys were 12 and eight when they testified before the jury.

The state prosecutors offered Malee a deal of 10 years in state prison if he would plead guilty to the charges. Malee refused the would-be sentencing bargain.

To this day Malee says he could not say guilty since he did not harm the boys in any way shape or form.

He has paid a mighty big price for sticking to his innocence.

A Frederick County Circuit Court judge, now retired, refused to reopen the cases as have state prosecutors. Attempts for appeals have fallen by the wayside. His outlook is rather bleak as time passes.

A Baltimore state public defender has taken on the case. No progress has been made as of now while Malee ages in prison.

People are always talking deals, how to get the best one. As it is often said, there are always two sides to every story and then the truth.

I do not know Malee, or any of his family. I do know a good story when I read it. Most people in court cases always hope for real justice, a good deal. Maybe some want mercy thrown in.

On the surface, there is something amiss in the Malee Matter. Who would agree to serving 450 years instead of 10, that is four and a half-centuries, at least as many life times.

Another look at this case is warranted. Maybe a high profile criminal defense attorney could be found.


This column has appeared in The Tentacle.