Details emerge in ex-swim coach's arrest

Published: Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 4:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 4:00 p.m.

Bryan Woodward thought he was meeting a 14-year-old girl for sex while her parents were away on a cruise, authorities said.


Bryan Woodward. (Photo courtesy of Osceola County government)

He even brought M&Ms for the girl he met in an online chat room earlier that evening, they said.

But before he left Gainesville for the Jan. 8 rendezvous in Kissimmee, a report states, Woodward had a momentary reservation.

"How do I know ur not a cop or something,'' the 29-year-old wrote. "I could show up and the cops could be waiting for me.''

His premonition came true.

Osceola County deputies stopped the former coach of the Gator Swim Club as he drove around the neighborhood after midnight and arrested him on charges of using the Internet to solicit sex with a minor and traveling to seduce a child to commit sex acts, according to his arrest affidavit.

Additional details on Woodward's arrest were released Thursday by the Osceola County Sheriff's Office. He was one of 40 men, including a professional golfer and an eighth-grade teacher, arrested on various sex- and drug-related charges as part of Operation Red Cheeks, the agency reported.

Among those arrested were Stephen Wesley Thomas, a member of the Senior PGA Tour, various businessmen and students, and a retired bee keeper.

One suspect traveled from Georgia, and another was on vacation from Alaska, but most were from cities in Florida.

Undercover detectives posed as children or the parent or guardian of a juvenile to talk with the men in chat rooms and instant messaging programs. The men then traveled to Osceola County intending to have sex with a child, according to an agency release.

Woodward's affidavit shows that using the screen name woodsq999, he asked the supposed teen about her favorite sexual positions, when she started having sex and whether she liked older guys. They also exchanged photos of themselves, the report states.

At one point, Woodward wrote, "Younger girls turn me on haha.''

Woodward kept texting as he drove to the tryst but circled the neighborhood until deputies pulled him over.

He told them he was just bored and looking for something to do and that he had no intention of going to the house, the report states.

He admitted that the photo they had was the one he had sent and that he had participated in the chats, deputies reported.

Woodward also told deputies he worked as the coach of a swim club with about 200 members, most of whom are under 18.

Until his arrest, Woodward was the head coach of the Gator Swim Club, a private organization that utilizes the O'Connell Center pools at the University of Florida and provides lessons and swimming opportunities for youths on competitive teams. He was hired in 2010, but a club official said last week that he was no longer with the organization.

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