The Orlando Sentinel has released more details surrounding the arrest of former Gator Swim Club head coach Bryan Woodward, who was taken into custody two weeks ago in Osceola County, Florida and charged with ‘Using a Computer to Solicit a Minor’ and ‘Travel to Meet a Minor’.
Woodward was arrested after exchanging messages online with detectives who were posing as underage girls. He then agreed to travel from Gainesville to an undisclosed spot in Osceola County (think the Kissimmee are, just south of Orlando). It is roughly a two hour drive from Gainesville to Osceola County.
The details surrounding the arrest are quite disturbing, and the Sentinel quoted Woodward’s arrest affidavit that he told undercover detectives that “younger girls turn me on” and that he even brought candy with him to meet what he thought was a minor.
In all, 40 were arrested in “Operation Red Cheeks,” including teachers, college students, a U.S. Army reservist, and 55-year old pro golfer Stephen Wesley Thomas, who is the only arrestee of a higher profile than Woodward. Thomas has three career top-10 finishes between the PGA and Champions tours.
The Gator Swim Club is unaffiliated with the University of Florida, though the club’s website refers to the “coaches we have at the University of Florida and Gator Swim Club,” which indicates a strong connection, if informal, between the programs.