GAINESVILLE, Florida, January 18. ACCORDING to an article by the Orlando Sentinel, former Gator Swim Club head coach Bryan Woodward never had a chance to actually harm a child as he was picked up as part of a weeklong undercover sting operation that included the Osceola County Sheriff's Office.
As previously reported, Woodward was arrested on Jan. 9 on charges of the use of a computer to solicit a child for sex and for travel to seduce a child for sex. He was later released to home confinement after paying $11,500 in two separate bonds. Woodward was immediately terminated from his position with the Gator Swim Club, and USA Swimming immediately began an emergency board of review process to suspend Woodward's membership pending a conviction and addition to the Banned for Life list.
The undercover sting, dubbed "Operation Red Cheeks," netted 40 arrests including professional golfer Stephen Wesley Thomas. The sting was similar to the Dateline NBC show To Catch a Predator, where detectives posed as children to chat online with suspects. Those suspects were then captured after traveling to a meet location located in Osceola County.
Specifics releases regarding Woodward's arrest included that he told an undercover agent posing as a child that "younger girls turn me on." He also "discussed graphic sex acts and brought candy with him to meet the ‘child'" according to the Orlando Sentinel.
"These predators stalk the cyber community looking for children," Osceola Sheriff Bob Hansell told the Orlando Sentinel, adding that because of the sting, "at a minimum, 40 children did not fall prey to a sexual deviant."