EX-FLORIDA SCHOOL OFFICIAL WHO IS HIV-POSITIVE GETS 35 YEARS IN SEX CRIMES CASE
November 6, 2019
A former Florida middle school assistant principal who molested at least one teenager — without revealing he was HIV-positive — has been sentenced to 35 years in federal prison.
Kyle Dale Ritsema, 36, was charged with producing, distributing and possessing child pornography for enticing a 14-year-old boy into unprotected sex five times, and is believed to have targeted other teens “and on several occasions sexually abused them,” federal prosecutors in Florida said.
“This criminal’s former position of trust makes this case all the more egregious and we hope (Tuesday’s) sentencing can bring a small measure of closure to the innocent victims and their families,” Homeland Security Special Agent James Spero said in a statement.
Ritsema was assistant principal at Cypress Creek Middle High School in Pasco County, Florida. He had previously been assistant principal at two other schools in the county, and taught math and coached at another two.
He came under scrutiny last year when federal agents probing another Pasco County school official, school bus manager William Napolitano, discovered that the two chatted regularly on the gay dating app Grindr, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Napolitano was sentenced to life in prison in December, the newspaper said.
The Ritsema probe revealed that he contacted the 14-year-old on Grindr in 2017 and had sex with the teen on at least five occasions over the following year.
He also took pornographic pictures of the boy during one encounter, prosecutors said.
Investigators said Ritsema also “had targeted many minors, including former students, and enticed them for sex, and on several occasions, sexually abused them.”
He “did not disclose his HIV status despite having unprotected sex with unknowing children and adults.”
A weeping Ritsema apologized in court on Tuesday, the paper reported.
“I am incredibly ashamed of my behavior and I will carry that shame as long as I live,” he said. “I don’t know completely why I did this,” he said. “I am anything but a monster.”
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