UCF instructor nabbed in child sex sting pleads not guilty
UCF film instructor Stephen Schlow, 75, pleaded not guilty after being caught and arrested in connection to an online child sex sting.
On June 22, Schlow engaged in an online chat with whom he thought was a 13-year-old girl but was actually an undercover officer, according to the arrest affidavit. During the conversation, Schlow mentioned he would drive to the Orlando area to meet and engage in sexual activity with the perceived minor.
On June 27, he was met and arrested in Sanford by an undercover police officer. He was charged with obscene communication and using the Internet to lure and seduce a minor.
Schlow's resignation from UCF was accepted July 1, and court records show he issued his statement of "not guilty" July 2.
Former student of Schlow, Maria Clare Forsthoefel was surprised by the allegations.
"As a student, I never would've thought he would have been involved in something like this. He was obviously passionate about his work and I don't remember any indication of his private matters outside of his job," said Forsthoefel, a film graduate.
Schlow was arrested as a result of Seminole County Sherrif's Office "Operation Cyber Summer," an undercover, multi-agency operation that aimed to target those using the Internet to sexually exploit children, according to an SCSO news release.
However, Forsthoefel said Schlow didn't show signs of being an alleged sex offender when she knew him.
"He wasn't socially awkward, which is the opposite of the teacher I had in high school who was found guilty of molesting children," she said. "It goes to show that you can never know what secrets a person is hiding. It's a scary thing."
UCF spokesman Chad Binette said the university has no reports of any disciplinary issues on file for Schlow.
He was released on a $20,000 bond, with a court date is set for Aug. 18.
Shanae Hardy is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Email her at ShanaeH@CentralFloridaFuture.com