Teacher arrested in Internet child sex sting

Matthew Chillcott teaches at Lawton Chiles Elementary School

Matthew Chilcott, 43.
Matthew Chilcott, 43.

LAKELAND, Fla. – A 5th-grade Orlando elementary school teacher was among nearly 40 men arrested in an Internet child sex sting in Polk County, according to authorities.

Matthew Chillcott, 43, of Orlando, who teaches at Lawton Chiles Elementary School and coaches youth soccer, was charged with traveling to meet a minor for sex.  Chillcott is accused of chatting with a detective, who was posing as a 14-year-old, and agreed to travel to an undercover location to have sex with the girl.

School officials said they have a policy where you must report if you've been arrested within 48 hours. Chillcott didn't report his arrest, therefore, he could be fired, officials said.

Thirty-seven others were also arrested in Operation Cyber Child, a 10-day operation conducted by the Polk County Sheriff's Office. Included in the 38 total arrests was a security guard at Disney, Mark Noethen, who deputies said came to meet the undercover agents armed.

"He came to have sex with an 11-year-old and 14-year-old sister to see which one of them he liked the best," said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

The arrestees ranged from 19-years-old to 51-years-old, and also included a NASA engineer from California-Phil Luna.

"He is the one who bought the candy, specifically Skittles, to teach an 11-year-old girl how to have sex," Judd said.

During the operation, undercover detectives posted fictitious ads or profiles on websites, including Craigslist, and posed as children or custodians of children.  Numerous men responded to the ads and contacted who they thought were children via online chats, emails, text messages and phone calls, deputies said.

The men 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, officials said.

Deputies said several of the men drove to a house to engage in sexual activity with the children. Some of the men arrested were on vacation in Central Florida, like 33-year-old John Bandel.

"He had to take his wife and children to Disney, but that night when he put them to bed he snuck out to have sex with a child," said Judd. "He ended up in the county jail."

Agents from the Casselberry Police Department and Lake County Sheriff's Office participated in the sting. This is the ninth time the Polk County sheriff's office has had a child sex sting operation.

To see a full list of those arrested, click here. To view their mugshots, click here.

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