Pasco Co. assistant principal arrested on federal child pornography charges

Kyle Ritsema

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) —  An assistant principal in Pasco County is in jail facing federal charges following a Homeland Security investigation.

Kyle Ritsema, 35, was arrested Tuesday afternoon. He is the assistant principal at Cypress Creek Middle High School.

Ritsema was arrested for possessing, making and distributing child pornography.

Ritsema, who lives in Land O’ Lakes, is charged with federal rules violation and is being held without bond at the Hillsborough County Jail.

Ritsema told authorities when he was arrested Tuesday that he had a sexual encounter with a boy who was 14 or 15 years old. Ritsema claimed at the time the boy said he was 18.

Detectives found naked photos of the boy on his cell phone. The boy confirmed the two had a sexual encounter.

Ritsema was arrested by the US Marshal’s Office. A spokesperson for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) told WFLA News Channel 8 that Ritsema’s arrest was the result of an investigation conducted by ICE and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Ritsema is still listed as an administrator on the school’s website. However, Pasco County School officials say Ritsema has been placed on paid administrative leave. Administrators say he was not arrested at his school.

A Pasco County School District spokesperson said the school district is not at liberty to give any details about the arrest at this time because the arrest stems from a Homeland Security investigation. The school district wants to reassure parents and students that at this point there is no reason to believe the arrest was school related.

WFLA has checked arrest records and it appears that he has a clean criminal history other than the federal charges.

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