POLK COUNTY, Fla. - An Orlando teacher was among 38 men, who were arrested Monday morning on charges of traveling to have sex with children, during an undercover
Internet sex sting, according to Polk County detectives.
"What amazes me is that we can continue to arrest them time after time," said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.
WFTV also found out that also among those arrested were a NASA engineer from California, a Disney security guard and some of the men are parents.
Disney said the employee, Mark Noethen, was placed on unpaid leave, pending the outcome of the charges.
Phil Luna, the NASA engineer drove from California to meet with who he thought was a child, investigators said.
"He's the one who arrived with condoms and candy, Skittles, to teach an 11-year-old how to have sex," Judd said.
The 10-day-long operation, called "Operation Cyber Child," spanned from June 1 through June 10 and included undercover detectives from multiple agencies.
During the operation, undercover detectives posted fake ads and profiles on various websites, such as Craigslist, posing as children or as custodians of children.
Numerous men responded to the ads and then proceeded to chat online, email, text, and talk on the phone with the undercover detectives who posed as children, according to authorities.
Detectives said the suspects solicited for sex acts, sent pornographic pictures and live webcam images of themselves and asked for nude photos of the children to be sent to them.
Detectives said they arrested 43-year-old Matthew Chillcott, who is a fifth-grade teacher at Lawton Chiles Elementary School in Orlando, and who has been chatting online with an undercover detective, posing as a 14-year-old girl since January 2012.
Detectives said Noethen had a handgun tucked in his pants when he showed up at the house set up for the operation, thinking he was about to meet two under-aged sisters.
"You see people, I see monsters. Sexual monsters," Judd said.
During the operation, detectives said he continued to chat with the detective and agreed to travel to the undercover location to have sex. Detectives said he is also a youth soccer coach.
Judd said no matter how much publicity they give arrests like such as Monday's, accused pedophiles keep coming to the door to meet what they believe will be children.
Detectives also arrested 31-year-old Wilson Silva of Brooksville, who has been a registered sex offender since 2001. Silva responded to a fake ad posted on Craigslist by an undercover detective, posing as the stepmother of a 14-year-old girl. He offered to come to the undercover location to teach the girl how to "have fun with sex," according to officers.
"They'll even walk boldly into your home when they think you're not there to attack your child," said Judd.
The men were arrested and charged with traveling to meet a minor for sex, along with other crimes.
"Our detectives are the best in the business and we will continue to go after the pedophiles and we will continue to lock them up," said Judd.
Neighbors said Chillcott moved a year ago from his last known address.
"He was friendly, outgoing, said hello all the time," said the neighbor.
Chillcott's neighbors said they were shocked to hear he was included in the sweep.
Judd told WFTV he asked a suspect why he didn't know better.
"He said, 'Well, my head told me it was a police sting. I've seen them on TV. But my desire to have sex with kids overrode all my common sense.' And that's where we are with these folks," said Judd.
This is the ninth operation conducted by the Polk County Sheriff's Office and the Central Florida ICAC (Internet Crimes Against Children) task force since 2005.