UCF grad caught in attempted child sex sting
July 27 editor's note: Of the 101 arrested, 22 were arrested after traveling to a location to have sex with who they believed to be a child, while 79 were arrested on charges related to prostitution, according to a Lake County Sheriff's Office statement.
UCF graduate Ahmad Saleem is one of 101 arrested on pedophilia charges, targeting children 10 to 14 years of age.
The Lake County Sheriff's Office Special Investigation Bureau and Polk County Sheriff's Office, with support from Mount Dora and Clermont Police Departments, recently conducted a two-week long joint undercover operation targeting those who prey on children online, as well as prostitution crimes, according to a Lake County Sheriff's Office statement on Wednesday.
Operation: L and P started on May 18 and ended on May 28 after undercover detectives set up in a vacant Clermont-area home, went on various online chat forums and posed as either a child, parent or someone interested in prostitution.
Saleem was arrested after attempting to meet with the 12-year-old girl, who turned out to be detectives posing as the girl, according to the International Business Times.
"The two-part operation was conducted due to the fact that online predators pose a very real and serious threat to children who have access to the Internet," the statement reports.
While at UCF, Saleem was the president of the Muslim Student Association. He became the Orlando Regional Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations for two months earlier in the year, and served as a community organizer, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relation's website.
Saleem was not employed at CAIR during the time of his arrest. After Saleem abandoned his position in April, CAIR began recruitment for a new community organizer, according to a statement provided by CAIR Communications Coordinator Ali Kurnaz.
"CAIR Florida is shocked and deeply concerned by the serious crimes Ahmad Saleem is alleged to have committed. We trust in the legal system to hold to full account any and all persons found guilty," according to the statement.
Marina Guerges is the Editor-in-Chief at the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @marinaguerges or email her at MarinaG@CentralFloridaFuture.com.