Sports

How a Former Red Sox Player Was Busted in Florida Child Sex Sting

A former Boston Red Sox pitcher was among dozens of men arrested during a five-day operation to entrap children in Florida dubbed “Operation Valiant Knights.”

Austin Maddox, 33, was arrested on four charges, including traveling to an appointment after using a computer to solicit a child, according to Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office inmate records.

The former MLB right-hander was arrested on April 28 while trying to enter a home where he believed an underage girl was waiting for him, according to video of the incident.

Video footage from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office shows Maddox leaving his red Ram pickup truck and heading toward the house. Police rushed to the door and tackled Maddox on the lawn.

Video from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office shows Austin Maddox tackled and arrested. The former Red Sox pitcher was charged with four counts related to intending to have sex with someone he believed to be…


Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office

Maddox remains in custody, according to jail records. He is awaiting trial and has no scheduled release date.

Police records show Maddox spoke with a 14-year-old girl on a chat site called Skip the Games. The extent of the conversation is redacted.

Investigators said Maddox “expressed a desire to commit lewd acts” and after learning the girl’s age, he allegedly said, “It’s young, baby. I’m in trouble for that.” You can’t even drive. Are you going to stay with me all night?

A sheriff’s spokesperson said in a video showing the arrest that a K9 must have been involved.

“While in custody, the suspect did not make any statements,” the police report states, adding that Maddox was injured during his arrest.

Police also recovered “medical marijuana gummies” and a “vape cartridge in dispensary packaging” from Maddox’s vehicle.

Austin Maddox
Video from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office shows Austin Maddox tackled and arrested. The former Red Sox pitcher was charged with four counts related to intending to have sex with someone he believed to be…


Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office

His required payment for his release is $300,012 for a total of four charges. Maddox was arrested for traveling to meet after using a computer to solicit a child, solicitation of a child via computer to engage in sexual conduct, illegal use of a two-way communications device, and promoting performances including sexual performances by a child.

How the sexual infiltration operation took place

Maddox’s arrest was part of a larger operation that arrested 27 men who believed they were chatting with underage girls online. Instead, they spoke with detectives from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, along with local, state and federal partners through the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, arrested the suspects during a five-day operation called “Operation Valiant Knights.”

Others arrested face a long list of crimes, including human trafficking, according to the sheriff’s office.

Maddox’s attorney told The Associated Press that he plans to plead not guilty once the charges are officially filed.

Austin Maddox, child sex scam in Florida
A former Boston Red Sox pitcher was arrested in a child predator sting operation in Florida. Austin Maddox, 33, was arrested on four charges, including traveling to meet after using a computer to solicit a…


Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office

Who was Austin Maddox

Maddox is a native of Jacksonville and played college baseball for the University of Florida Gators.

He was drafted by the Red Sox in 2012.

Maddox had spent most of his baseball career in the minor leagues. He appeared in 13 games for the Red Sox during the 2017 season, before being sent back to the minors to recover from shoulder injuries.

Maddox was released from the team in 2019.