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Polk Deputies: Kathleen High School Principal Cecil Edward McClellan among 89 arrested in prostitution bust

6:16 PM, Aug 31, 2012   |    comments
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Video: High school principal arrested in prostitution sting

Cecil Edward McClellan, Kathleen high School principal arrested during an on-line prostitution bust in Polk County


Lakeland, Florida -- Polk County detectives say a high school principal was among 89 people arrested in a prostitution bust this week.

Photo Gallery: 89 people arrested in Polk prostitution bust

Kathleen High School principal Cecil McClellan Jr. allegedly solicited a female undercover officer to meet him for sex on Thursday. Deputies say McClellan also spoke with two other female undercover detectives regarding a sex-for-money exchange. 

After finalizing arrangements, McClellan arrived at the hotel wearing a Kathleen High School football shirt. That is where officials say he agreed to pay the undercover detective money in exchange for sex.

Upon McClellan's arrest, Polk County Schools Superintendent Dr. Sherrie B. Nickell released the following statement:

"We are extremely disappointed in this news. However, our number one focus will continue to be on providing our students with a quality education and providing our school faculty with the support they need. Kathleen High School is an award-winning school and I expect no less in the future."

In a press conference Friday, Polk Sheriff Grady Judd called the arrest, "devastating. Cecil is well respected in the education community. For him to have a misstep is so unlike him."

The sheriff believes the father of four has done this before. Judd says McClellan knew what questions to ask the undercover officers, what language to use and what to look for.

At Kathleen High School, students say he's a great principal and they can't believe the charges.

Mariah Mackey, a senior says, "He's always walking around campus, he's sweet, encouraging he's a good guy. He's a great guy. He would not do anything like that."

Sam Collins, a junior says, "He tells us all the time we are the best the brightest in the sky."

Parents are also shocked and disappointed.

Monica Hunter has two teens at Kathleen High School. "That's pathetic and sick, and he has a wife."

According to a website for the Never Fade Gospel Band -- a bluegrass gospel group in Lakeland -- McClellan is the lead singer and plays the guitar. The group has been around since 1998.

In his bio, McClellan says he's a born again Christian. He writes, "The purpose and desire in my life is to be a Christian witness to my family and others; to be a role model for young people to follow; to bring hope to a dying world."

School district officials say he has a spotless record. McClellan is on administrative leave. Deputies charged McClellan with one count of soliciting a prostitute and two counts of battery on an undercover law enforcement officer.

Dozens more arrested throughout the week

The undercover sting operation began on August 24, and targeted online prostitution. 

39-year-old Glen Kershaw is among the other 88 suspects arrested, and is facing multiple charges involving a minor.

Kershaw allegedly spoke with an undercover detective about having sex with a child, and then traveled to Davenport to meet with the person, whom he believed would offer him an 11-year-old girl to have sex with. 

Officials immediately arrested Kershaw, and charged him with Traveling to Meet a Minor for Sex, Attempted Sexual Battery on a Minor Under 12, Use of Computer to Entice a Guardian, and Unlawful Use of Two-Way Communication.

"Kershaw's requests and conversation with detectives during the investigation were graphic and disturbing," said Sheriff Grady Judd. "He admitted to answering other online ads for prostitution in the past," Judd added.

Michael C. Shorette, a 62-year-old licensed general contractor from Winter Haven, was another man arrested in the bust.  Officials arrested Shorette for Solicitation of Prostitution and Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer after he touched an undercover detective without her permission.

Deputies say three women were also arrested after traveling to the area to make money in "adult entertainment" during the Republican National Convention.  They are identified as Courtney Lane, Markisha Moguel, Maleka Williams, all 23 years old.

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