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Child Exploitation
02/21/2018

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ICE seeks public's help to identify additional victims in child exploitation case

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. – Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) are seeking the public’s help to identify possible additional victims in an ongoing child sexual exploitation investigation involving an assistant principal at Cypress Creek Middle High School in Pasco County, Florida. 

Kyle Dale Ritsema, 35, of Land O’Lakes, was arrested Feb. 13, 2018, by HSI special agents for production, possession, and distribution of child pornography.

Ritsema, who is originally from Michigan, lived in Tampa and New Port Richey before establishing residence in Land O’Lakes.  He began his career with the District School Board of Pasco County in approximately 2006 at Paul R. Smith Middle School as a math teacher, and held similar positions at Gulf Highland Elementary School and Seven Springs Middle School before promoting as an assistant vice principal at River Ridge Middle School, Pine View Middle School, and most recently Cypress Creek Middle High School. 

According to court records, Ritsema established relationships with young male juveniles on various social media applications including Grindr, Kik Messenger and SCRUFF, and then met them off-line. 

“We believe there are more children that were victimized by this predator, and we ask for the public and parents to help us identify them and make sure they receive the support they need,” said HSI Tampa Special Agent in Charge James C. Spero “This case serves as a warning to our communities to be vigilant about our children’s online activities.”

This case is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.

This investigation was conducted under HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 16,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2016, more than 2,600 child predators were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 800 victims identified or rescued.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.

For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page. HSI is a founding member of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 02/26/2018