Jan. 18, 2012— -- A Florida sex sting netted 40 adults, including a professional golfer, Army reserve soldier, teacher, and swim coach who attempted to have sex with children they solicited on the internet, according to police.
The Osceola County Sheriff's department conducted Operation Red Cheeks from Jan. 8 through Jan. 16 at locations throughout the county, setting up fake online identities where detectives posed as children in order to initiate contact with the suspects.
The suspects then traveled to an undercover house or meeting spot to have sex with the child, often bringing gifts including chocolate or wine, as well as condoms and Viagra.
Police said that most of the suspects sent pornographic images of themselves to the "children" they were chatting with online.
One suspect traveled from Georgia and another was on vacation from Alaska, police said.
The suspects include PGA professional golfer Stephen Wesley Thomas, who thought he was chatting with a woman about sex with her and her 13-year-old daughter, according to police. Thomas allegedly agreed to perform sex acts with the girl, and then traveled to an undercover house to meet the women. He was arrested with condoms, chocolate pudding and honey in his possession, police said.
Bryan Allen Woodward, 29 and the head swim coach of the Gator Swim Club in Florida, was arrested after he told an undercover cop that "younger girls turn me on," discussed graphic sex acts and brought M&Ms with him to meet the person he thought was a 14-year-old girl, police reports state. He told cops he worked with more than 200 children, most of whom were under 18, according to his arrest affidavit.
Nine students were also charged, including one high school student and one student of the Golf Academy of America.
Alexander Roy, a 32-year-old eighth grade math teacher in Port St. Lucie, Fl., was arrested after he traveled to Kissimmee, Fla., to meet with what he believed was a 30-year-old woman and her 13-year-old daughter to engage in sexual acts, the affidavit states.
Many other individuals, all of whom were men, were arrested in the sting operation.
"These predators stalk the cyber community looking for children to victimize. This operation resulted in 40 arrests which means at a minimum, 40 children did not fall prey to a sexual deviant," stated Sheriff Bob Hansell.