High school dean accused of failing to report sexual abuse

Police say abuse happened on campus

By Adrienne Cutway - Web Editor

Kevin Sanford

HAINES CITY, Fla. - The dean at a Central Florida high school is accused of not notifying authorities when he became aware of a sexual abuse allegation involving two students, according to the Haines City Police Department.

Police said they met with the victim at an emergency room in Lake County on May 28.

The girl's mother said she told Ridge Community High School dean of students Kevin Sanford that morning that another student sexually abused her daughter on campus and Sanford said he would call her back once he reviewed surveillance footage from the area, according to the report.

Police said the mother called again when she didn't hear back from Sanford. She was told that he had left for the day, so she took her daughter to a hospital, records show.

When police contacted Sanford at the school the next day, they said he was irate and argumentative and admitted to not contacting authorities because he wasn't done with his own investigation. The principal told Sanford, 38, that he should have immediately notified law enforcement officials.

Superintendent of Polk County Public Schools Jacqueline M. Byrd said she was disappointed to hear of the allegations against Sanford.

"As educators, we have been entrusted with ensuring the safety and well-being 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," Byrd said.

She added that the school district is cooperating with the investigation.

Sanford, who has worked for Polk County Public Schools for 15 years and has no other disciplinary action in his file, was arrested on charges of failure to report abuse and resisting without violence.

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