Operation Cyber Child

Orlando elementary teacher among 38 arrested in child sex sting

There are few thoughts more unsettling than knowing that your child was in close proximity to an adult who tried to meet with a minor for sex. One of those thoughts is that the adult your child was close to was your child’s teacher.

On June 11th, Matthew Chillcott, a 5 th grade teacher at Lawton Chiles, was arrested for speaking with an undercover detective about having sex with a child since January. He was one of thirty-eight men across the nation arrested in a ten day operation that concluded Sunday.

Detectives posted ads on Craigslist and other websites acting like minors and the guardians of children. The detectives, as is common in such cases, engaged curious patrons into email, text, online chats, and telephone conversations.

Some suspects sent revealing photos of themselves to the detectives. Others, like teacher Chillcott, were arrested for driving to engage in sexual activity with children. The operation was complex and involved the Orlando Police Department, Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, Casselberry Police Department, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and even the Department of Homeland Security. Apparently terrorism has been kept at bay.

Law enforcement regularly engages in sting operations like ” Operation Cyber Child.” We saw it not too long before this with “Operation Red Cheeks”. One of the ideas behind them is that the operations deter predators from seeking minors online. Another idea behind these operations is that they only catch those persons predisposed to seek out sexual contact with a minor.

Those against law enforcement procedures like this frequently argue that these procedures violate persons’ due process rights and amount to entrapment. The United States Supreme Court has not prohibited the orchestration of sting operations that target sexual predators, and the practice will likely continue into the foreseeable future.

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