According to his LinkedIn profile, Riddle graduated from the University of Michigan prior to moving to the Colorado Springs area. He's listed as a German teacher and "faculty leader" at Widefield. His personal summary reads: "I have been an educator in the public school system for 8 years. I am passionate about creating a life-long love of learning, and helping teachers to find the appropriate technology to help improve and provide quality instruction."Also online as of this morning, even after Riddle's sentencing, is a Widefield page devoted to him. Here's an excerpt from the text introducing the instructor known as "Herr Riddle:"
I am dedicated to meeting the needs of each and every student. I believe in strong connections between the classroom and the community and preparing students with 21st century skills. My goal is to help students learn the skills that they need for post-secondary study and the workforce.The item concludes with the line, "I look forward to working with all of you this year."
If this material was penned in advance of the 2013-2014 scholastic term, Riddle was unable to fulfill this last goal.
On November 18 of last year, according to the aforementioned affidavit, representatives of the El Paso County Sheriff's Office headed to Widefield to speak with a student, age seventeen. The student told investigators that Riddle had grabbed his nipple during class, called him "Cutie" and made what are described as "inappropriate sexual comments."An example? The student and one of his pals were comparing shoe sizes when Riddle allegedly inserted himself into the conversation to announce, "I am twelve inches" and asked the student if he was bisexual.
Other students subsequently stepped up to tell similar tales. One said Riddle had "cup checked him in class" in order to determine if their "'dicks' were big or small." A passage reads: "Mr. Riddle explained and pointed out a 'White boy' and said that his penis was small. He pointed out another boy (who was black) and stated, 'He was a horse.'"
Another student who said he'd experienced a cup check from Riddle added that they'd had multiple conversations about gay sex. He recalled Riddle "telling him that it hurts the first time but it gets better and that the guy on the bottom receives while the guy on top gives." He added that "Mr. Riddle has touched the inside of his upper thigh and has rubbed the top of his shoulders while in class."
And then there was the student who said Riddle had shown him a photo on his cell phone depicting "a naked male bending over showing his anus."
Riddle was eventually charged with eighteen counts of sex assault on a child by a person in a position of trust, and the Colorado Springs Gazette reports that in August, a jury convicted him of five offenses. He's now been handed an indeterminate sentence that will keep him behind bars for a minimum of eight years, with more time a possibility.
The Gazette quotes the judge in the case arguing that "Riddle lacks understanding of the seriousness of his crimes," adding that "although the children were not physically injured...the emotional damage he caused them at a time when they're exploring their own sexuality is likely severe."
Look below to see one of Riddle's booking photos, followed by the arrest affidavit.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.