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Pro Golfer Among 40 Arrested in Florida Sex Sting

An eighth grade teacher, a swim coach, and a professional golfer are just a couple of the 40 suspects arrested by Florida officials who were conducting an undercover child sex networking sting.

A January 8-16 investigation called “Operation Red Cheeks” was run by officials from the Osceola County Sherriff. The authorities were able to arrest the 40 individuals for Internet-based sex crimes during those dates.

A professional golfer, Stephen Wesley Thomas, has made 44 appearances on the PGA tour. He is the highest profile arrested in the sting. Thomas allegedly told officers that he thought he was speaking with a woman who was arranging sex with her 13-year-old daughter.

The head coach of Gainesville’s Gator Swim Club, which is not affiliated with the University of Florida, Bryan Woodward, was also arrested in the sting. The organization relieved Woodward of his duties with the club after the sting.

From the police statement:



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“During the operation, undercover detectives from the agencies listed, posed as juveniles or the parent or guardian of a juvenile to talk with individuals in chat rooms and instant messaging programs on the Internet. Suspects would travel to an undercover house or secondary meeting location located in Osceola County with the purpose of having sex with a child.”

Some of the other suspects arrested in the sting include a 70-year-old retired beekeeper, a construction worker, eight college students, an IT professional and a middle school math teacher from Manatee Academy in Port St. Lucie.

The charges filed in the sting include travel to seduce a child and commit sex acts, use of a computer to solicit a child for sex, and transmitting harmful images of a minor.

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Posted by on January 19, 2012. Filed under Breaking News,Home. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • Protect the kids correctly

    I would agree with this sting, however These men were bait and switched on ADULT only websites. Some of those arrested never showed up and were arrested at their work even though they showed no intent to meet with an underage person. Some thought the person was a scammer and/or an adult playing a fantasy. Its Craigslist, it is full of scammers. The men arrested were in the ADULT section of craigslist where you have to verify you are 18 or above to get into the site. The Police are trapping people by breaking the policy of websites in order to catch men following the policys of the website. That is UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

    These stings are simply politically and financially motivated. What a better way to drum up funding and political clout than to catch “Internet Predators”, and the quickest way to do that is to go to sexually charged adult websites and make a few misleading ads and innuendos, And when you catch these people…Lie through your teeth and toot your own horn all over the news making these men look more evil and like monsters

    The sad part is, because of immediate public opinion most of these men have their lives destroyed before they have their day in court and by that time they are unable to afford a good lawyer. A lot of these men will plead NO CONTEST because the public defender does not want to waste their time on “Pedophiles”. And these men are afraid of facing judges and Prosecutors that are facing re-election as well as a jury that will be biased because of the nature of the case.