Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Orlando, Florida coordinator for Council on Islamic American Relations (CAIR) arrested in child sex sting, license plate said 'Invest in Children,' Ahmad Saleem well known as community outreach leader interacting with teens-Orlando Sentinel, BayNews 9

6/2/15, "101 busted in joint Lake, Polk sex sting,", Christal Hayes

"Orlando community activist Ahmad Saleem drove to a Clermont-area house intending to meet a 12-year-old girl he had been chatting with online for sex in a vehicle with a specialty "Invest in Children" license plate, authorities said Tuesday. 

But when the door opened, there were no children in sight. Instead, detectives quickly brought Saleem to the ground and arrested him. Saleem, founder of the Saleem Academy, an organization dedicated to empowering Muslim youths globally, was one of the 101 people arrested in an undercover cybercrime prostitution and child-sex sting by the Lake and Polk county sheriff's offices.

Lake County Sheriff Gary Borders and Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd spelled out details of the two-week sting, which started on May 18, at a Tavares news conference surrounded by large boards filled with suspects' mug shots. Seventy-nine people were busted in the prostitution operation and 22 in the child-sex sting, officials said.

"Central Florida is now a safer place today because of the efforts of our deputies," Borders said. 

He said the operation — dubbed "L & P" for "Lake" and "Polk" — used chat rooms and online forums to identify people seeking illicit sex. The first phase targeted people looking to have sex with minors from 10 to 14. Among those arrested was Saleem, 22, who faces felony charges for traveling to seduce or solicit a child to commit a sex act.

A Polk County sheriff's detective posed as a girl online and talked with Saleem, who said he wanted to have sex with the girl and then traveled to Lake County for an expected meeting, authorities said.
Saleem was also the Orlando regional coordinator for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a nonprofit organization dedicated to challenging stereotypes of Islam and Muslims and defending civil liberties. The organization said he only worked there for a short time before abandoning his post.

"This was a warning and a message that we are after these types of people with a vengeance," Judd said. "If we didn't get you in this operation, you better be sure we will in the next one. We are after you. Leave our children alone."

In the second phase of the operation targeting prostitution, most suspects were arrested for attempting to engage in a sex act for cash. A few were busted for drug possession and one driver faces charges for taking a person to the house knowing prostitution was involved, authorities said.

In a similar sting last year, Lake deputies rescued a teenager who had been kidnapped and forced to have sex by a suspect who then tried to use her as a prostitute. None of the prostitutes fit that description this time, Borders said. 

"Unfortunately, we didn't come across any individuals who were caught in human trafficking," he said. "Florida is No. 3 in the nation for it and we wanted to try to catch it. Of course, we came across other law breakers during the prostitution sting and were able to get them off the streets."" via Pamela Geller


"He's (Ahmed Saleem) well known as a community outreach leader interacting with teens in and around the Orlando area."
6/2/15, "101 arrested in child sex, prostitution sting in Lake, Polk counties,", by Dave D'Marko, Lake County Reporter, Tavares
"More than 100 people have been arrested in a large-scale, two-county operation that targeted cyber crimes and prostitution, authorities said Tuesday.

The two-week joint sting, known as "Operation L and P," netted 101 arrests in both Lake and Polk counties. The investigation concluded late last week.

A news conference was held Tuesday morning in Tavares to release the details of the sting.

Many of the people arrested had jobs working with children, including theme park workers at Universal Orlando and SeaWorld, and a former Walt Disney World cast member who left that job before his arrest. SeaWorld also said the men charged were no longer employed at the theme park.

"These are very dangerous people and they are after our children," said Grady Judd of the Polk County Sheriff's Office. There were two phases of the operation: During the first week, investigators say, 22 people traveled to Clermont thinking they were going to have sex with a child between ages 10 and 14.
Seventy-nine others were arrested on charges connected to prostitution.

Ahmed Saleem, a Muslim youth coordinator, was also one of the men arrested. Investigators said the men all traveled to a home in Clermont with the hopes of having sex with a child.

The car Saleem traveled in had a license plate that said, "Invest in children,"
according to investigators. Saleem is also the founder of the Saleem Academy, an organization empowering Muslim youth globally and also served as the Orlando coordinator for CAIR, the Counsel On Islamic American Relations.

"He's well known as a community outreach leader interacting with teens in and around the Orlando area," said Judd.

Judd, who was at Tuesday's news conference, said the operation sends a strong message to anyone in Internet chat rooms that sex with minors won't be tolerated."

Ed. note: Difference in spelling of Saleem's first name, Ahmad in first article, Ahmed in second article.


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