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Feb 7, 2024

High school teacher/soccer coach arrested for sexual relationship with a student

Media Contact: Brian Bruchey, PIO

Detectives from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested a high school teacher in Lakeland on Tuesday, February 6, 2024, after an investigation revealed that he had twice sexually battered a 17-year old student from the school where he taught and coached soccer.  

26-year old Richard Alcalde of Lakeland was transported to the Sheriff’s Processing Center and charged with: Sexual Battery by Custodian (F1), Sexual Offense on Student by Authority Figure (F2), and Unlawful Use of 2-Way Communication Device (F3).

PCSO detectives confirmed that Alcalde was employed as a teacher and a boys’ soccer coach at Star Athletes Academy at 3151 Hardin Combee Road in Lakeland, and was hired there in August of 2023. School officials told detectives that Alcalde’s employment is terminated.

“Richard Alcalde should never step foot in a classroom ever again. Simply put—he preyed on this student and took advantage of her. He even tried to justify it by telling her that it was normal in his culture for a man his age to have a relationship with someone so young. Well that doesn’t fly, and now he’s going to experience jail culture.” Grady Judd, Sheriff

The PCSO investigation began on Tuesday after the victim’s mother discovered flirtatious text messages between her daughter and Alcalde the night before.

The victim’s mother told detectives that she went to get her daughter at the Dollar General store at 637 US 17/92 West in Haines City after speaking to her daughter on the phone and noticed her daughter sounded intoxicated. While checking the girl’s phone, she found the text messages.

According to the victim, Alcalde gave her an alcoholic beverage at the school, then drove her to a gas station and got her another alcoholic beverage. He then drove to the Dollar General store where he sexually battered the girl.

While speaking to detectives, Alcalde admitted to sexually battering the girl twice at the Dollar General store but denied providing her with alcohol.