Venice High teacher charged with engaging in sexual conduct with one of his students

Riddick in jail under total bond of $75,000

Jakob Riddick. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office

On June 25, personnel with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) arrested a Venice High School teacher for allegedly engaging in sexual conduct with one of his students, the agency has reported.

Jakob Riddick, 23, of 830 Oak Pond Drive in Osprey, has been charged with three felonies, a news release says. Two of the counts involve an authority figure’s soliciting or engaging in sexual conduct with a student, the release adds. The third charge is Authority Figure Soliciting or Engaging in a Romantic Relationship with a Student, the Sheriff’s Office’s Corrections Division notes.

The investigation began when an administrator with the Sarasota County Schools contacted the SCSO Special Victims Unit (SVU) to report an email that the Venice High School principal, Zoltan Kerestely, had received, the release explains. “The anonymous email detailed messages from a social media chat group that was investigated by SVU and traced to Riddick and the student,” the release adds.

The arrest warrant in the case is designated as “Protected” in the records maintained by the Office of the Sarasota County Clerk of the Circuit Court and County Comptroller. Therefore, the details are not available for public review.

As of July 3, Riddick remained in jail on total of $75,000 in bond — $25,000 for each count, the Corrections Division records said.

On June 27, The Sarasota News Leader learned from court records, Riddick entered a plea of “Not guilty” with the 12th Judicial Circuit Court and demanded a jury trial.

A day later — June 28 — Riddick’s attorney, Richard Saul Rubin, an assistant public defender in Sarasota, filed a motion with the Circuit Court, seeking a reduction in bail for Riddick. The motion said, “The Defendant cannot afford the current monetary bail. As a result, the Defendant has  been denied liberty since the arrest.”

Circuit Judge Thomas Krug. Image from the 12th Judicial Circuit Court website

In response to that action, Circuit Judge Thomas Krug scheduled a bond hearing for July 16, court records show.

Riddick’s LinkedIn account says he has been a “Forensic Science Teacher Leveraging a Medical School Education to Enhance Learning Outcomes.”

The account also notes that he became a full-time teacher in the Sarasota County School District in March 2023.

From July 2022 through May 2023, the account adds, he was a student at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Bradenton.

From February 2022 through July 2022, the account says, he was a supervisor with Wawa.

The account notes that he earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Central Florida in May 2022. Prior to that, it continues, he was an education mentor at North Port High School from March 2021 through May 2021. His account explains, “Served as a mentor and model for academically challenged students to create a drive for learning in higher education and skilled trades.”

In a check of Circuit Court cases, the News Leader found only two prior records for Riddick. One of those involved a Jan. 30, 2018 speeding citation, which he received for allegedly driving 44 mph in a 35 mph zone on Center Road in Sarasota. He completed a Traffic School session to resolve that charge, the case docket shows.

Then, in late January of this year, court records say, he became involved in divorce proceedings. The petitioner listed in that case was Jessica Nicole Lippincott.

On June 20, the records note, the formal dissolution of his marriage was recorded.

In accord with state law, the records related to that process also are designated “Protected.”

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