Tampa, Florida (WFLA) – Folk County Sheriff Grady Judd says a Christian schoolteacher who instructed students was arrested in Lakeland after he was accused of lewdness with two of them.
Derek Stribbling was arrested at his home on Thursday after authorities received reports of inappropriate sexual behavior that occurred while he was working as a teacher at Crossroads Christian School.
Judd said Stribling worked as a history teacher, dean of students, basketball coach and “life management coach” at the school. He played basketball at the University of Tennessee and at Tennessee Tech, according to Judd.
Judd said an 18-year-old student claims Stribling asked for her phone number to check on her condition after arguing with her father and fearing going to school. During their conversation, he informed her that she had a “D” in his class, and offered her extra credit.
As soon as she gave him her number, Judd said Stribling started chatting with her on FaceTime and sending her implicit text messages.
“And they started talking about sex. And it was filthy talk, disgusting talk,” Judd said. “As a result, he started doing all sorts of disgusting things, and sent it to her through social media.”
On one occasion, during a video call, he allegedly exposed himself to the student and committed an act of lewdness. Another time, he asked her to meet him in a parking lot and perform a sexual act, but she refused “because he is married,” Judd said.
“we [later] “It was learned that her D eventually reached A,” Judd said, referring to the extra credit. “Isn’t that amazing?”
Another student accused Stribbling of inappropriate sexual behavior that occurred while coaching school basketball in 2020.
According to the suspect, Stribbling caused the boy to meet him in the school gym equipment closet, and began kissing and touching her inappropriately. He started communicating with her via Snapchat and text messages, and called her twice on FaceTime and revealed himself, the student said.
The other student also claimed to have asked her to perform a sexual act, but she refused.
“The two victims provided details about Stribling’s anatomy,” the sheriff’s office said in a press release.
Judd said the principal notified the sheriff’s office after the allegations surfaced, and Stribbling was suspended from school.
“For a 39-year-old married pervert to do it to two teenagers it’s awful as it is, but when you add that he’s a teacher who does it to his students – it infuriates me,” Judd said. “Most teachers do everything they can to protect their students, but this guy was the complete opposite. He preyed on them because of his sick desires, and he should never be allowed to be around children again.”
Stribbling was charged with lewd and morbid abuse of a minor, lewd and morbid conduct, offenses against students by an authority figure and the transfer of harmful material to a minor. He stayed behind bars.
“We are really worried that there are other victims out there,” Judd said.
“We talked to parents who thought he was a great guy, glad he was in the position of being their teacher because he was so nice,” the sheriff added. “He probably befriended you all the time that he could sexually assault your child. We need to know.”