Former Red Sox pitcher among 27 men arrested by Florida child sex sting

JACKSONVILLE, FL - The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office led by Sheriff T.K. Waters and accompanied by local, state, and federal partners with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force arrested 27 men during the five-day "Operation Valiant Knights," a child-sex trafficking sting. Among the men arrested was former Boston Red Sox pitcher Austin Maddox whose image has spread virally sporting a swollen eye and battered face after he reportedly resisted arrest.

Waters told reporters during a press conference Monday that the combined task force included the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security Investigations The Intercept task force, the Naval Criminal Investigative Services, four neighboring Sheriffs, and the US Marshall Service as well as the State Attorney General and U.S. Attorneys.

The Sheriff explained, "The objective of this operation was to identify and arrest suspects who solicit children to engage in sexual acts using electronic devices undercover detectives posing as children chatted online with these adults. These adults solicited sexual activity and committed to engaging in sex acts with purported minors at pre-arranged locations.

"Once these adults arrived at these locations to meet these minors they were immediately arrested. Twenty-four child predators who traveled to meet minors were arrested during this operation and three additional Predators were arrested after follow-up investigations were conducted."

As reported by The New York Post, footage was released by the Sheriff's Office showing Maddox being arrested at the location where he believed he would meet a 14-year-old girl for a sexual encounter, the authorities said. The video was posted to X by WFLA-TV.
  The local outlet reported that according to Maddox's inmate profile he has been charged with "traveling to meet after using a computer to seduce/solicit/lure a child, solicitation of a child via computer to engage in sexual conduct, unlawful use of two-way communication device, and produce/promote performance which includes sexual performance by a child."

In addition to Maddox, Waters told reporters that Kevin Pierce, a maintenance worker for Duvall County Public Schools at the time of his arrest had traveled to a pre-arranged location with the intent of engaging in sexual conduct with a 13-year-old child.

The Sheriff later said that another suspect,  a respiratory therapist named Chad Salowski, was arrested seeking to engage in sexual activity with an eight-year-old child. The Sheriff noted Salowski's case in particular saying, "Let that sink in: an eight-year-old."
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Thank you Sheriff for culling this trash out of the communities.


Thank you Sheriff for culling this trash out of the communities.

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