Haines City Police Department Press Release
HAINES CITY, FL – The dean of students at Ridge Community High School is being charged with failure to report abuse – a third-degree felony and resisting without violence – a first-degree misdemeanor. Kevin Sanford, 38, will be charged for not reporting a criminal sexual conduct complaint involving two students on May 28. One student accused another of criminal sexual conduct. The Haines City Police Department was made aware that an incident had occurred after it was reported from a Lake County emergency room after school on May 28. On the morning of May 29, police made contact with Sanford at Ridge Community High School who became physically irate, argumentative and failed to provide pertinent information related to the criminal sexual conduct. Sanford acknowledged to not notifying law enforcement, claiming it was the end of the school day and he had not yet completed his investigation. The principal told Sanford that law enforcement should have been notified immediately. The mother of the alleged victim said that she had spoken with Sanford about the incident about noon on May 28. The mother said she was told by Sanford that he would call her back once video was reviewed from where on campus the incident was said to have occurred. The mother said she had not heard back from Sanford on May 28, so she called the school and was told that he had left for the day. The mother took her daughter to the emergency room later that day. “I am terribly disappointed by the allegations that a staff member failed to report abuse,” said Jacqueline M. Byrd, Superintendent of Polk County Public Schools. “As educators, we have been entrusted with ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our students. Allegations of abuse must always be promptly reported to the proper authorities. Failure to do so is not only illegal, it places our students at risk of further abuse — we cannot and will not allow that to happen. We are cooperating fully with our partners in law enforcement, and should we determine disciplinary action is merited based on the law enforcement investigation, I will act swiftly and to the fullest extent of my authority.” Sanford declined to speak further with detectives regarding the incident. The Florida Department of Children and Families was notified by detectives. Sanford had been with Polk County Public Schools for 15 years and has no other disciplinary action in his file. He is paid an annual salary of $50,350. “When parents send their children off to school, they should be able to do so with trust in the school’s administration,” Chief Elensky said. “Mr. Sanford failed to act in this case, but we appreciate that the rest of the administration was very cooperative in this investigation.