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Scottsdale teacher arrested, accused of child prostitution

A Scottsdale teacher is behind bars, accused of attempting to arrange sex with a minor, according to court documents.

<p>Chandler police led an undercover investigation resulting in the arrest of 24-year-old Connor Cleland, a teacher for BASIS schools in Scottsdale.</p>

CHANDLER, Ariz. - A former Scottsdale art teacher stands accused of child prostitution. Police say 24-year-old Connor Cleland taught for BASIS Scottsdale School. He allegedly used a social media app to communicate with a person he believed to be a 15-year-old girl.

Chandler police arrested Cleland after he allegedly set up a meeting with that supposed underage girl.

"He solicited this girl allegedly well-knowing her age. He solicited this girl for a sexual favor in exchange for money, so prostitution," said Detective Seth Tyler with the Chandler Police Department.

Tyler shared the disturbing details about why this now-terminated Scottsdale charter school teacher is facing charges.

"He was charged with a prostitution of a minor, age misrepresentation and attempting to lure a minor," he said.

It was really an undercover detective. Court documents show Cleland lied about his age, saying he was a 16-year-old boy over the course of the conversations that took place between May 13 and May 26.

"When Mr. Cleland arrived at the Chandler address, instead of being met by a 15-year-old girl, he was met by a Chandler police officer who arrested him and took him into custody," Tyler said.

Police arrested him at an apartment complex near Queen Creek Road and Arizona Avenue where detectives say they found he had $40 in cash in hand. That's what he reportedly told the person he thought was a 15-year-old girl over the social media app he would give her in exchange for oral sex.

"There was evidence that was the reason why he was going to that apartment," he said.

Court documents show Cleland has been employed at BASIS Scottsdale School for the past year.

"There are many people out there like Mr. Cleland that are looking to exploit young boys and girls for sexual reasons," said Tyler. "It's very sad."

"It's tragic, but it's out there and parents need to be aware of that," he said. "If there's anything that parents can take away from this, is that it's a wake-up call."

Katie Perry, a spokesperson for BASIS Scottsdale School, told 12 News the alleged incident did not take place at the school or with any students at the school.

Perry also said Cleland has been terminated and the school is fully cooperating with the police investigation.

Chandler police are trying to determine if there are any actual victims connected to this case.

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