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Former MLB player Austin Maddox arrested in undercover sex sting | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

FILE – Austin Maddox of the Boston Red Sox baseball team shown Feb. 19, 2017, in Fort Myers, Fla. Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Austin Maddox was arrested in Florida last month as part of an underage sex sting, authorities announced Monday, May 20, 2024. Maddox was one of 27 people arrested as part of a multi-agency operation late last month, Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters said. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

(NewsNation) — Former Major League Baseball player Austin Maddox was among 27 people arrested last month by Florida law enforcement after an undercover underage sex sting. 

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office wrote on Facebook Monday that they conducted a “child predator operation,” in coordination with local, state and federal officials. During the five-day operation, 27 men who thought they were chatting online with minor girls were caught when it turned out they were really talking to detectives with the sheriff’s office. 

“These men face a long list of felonies including solicitation of a child and human trafficking,” Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said. 

Among those arrested was Maddox, a former pitcher for the Boston Red Sox who also played baseball at the University of Florida. 

Maddox, per an arrest report, started communicating with the undercover agent, posing as an underage girl, on April 28. Officials said he expressed his intent to have sex with her, even after the “girl” told him she was 14, the Associated Press wrote. 

After agreeing to meet the girl at a pre-arranged location, Maddox was arrested by law enforcement officers. 

NewsNation local affiliate WJW reports Maddox resisted arrest until the department’s K-9 officer got involved. He was charged with four felony counts, including traveling to meet after using a computer to solicit a child, and is being held in jail on a $300,000 bond.

James Hill, a defense attorney for Maddox, told the AP he intends to fight the allegations against him and will enter a plea of not guilty.

“We plan on continuing to do these undercover stings,” Lt. Justin Wilson of the Internet Crimes Against Children Unit said. The undercover detectives are doing their best to identify and arrest these individuals that are on the Internet, trying to sexually exploit children.”

Maddox, who retired from the MLB in 2020, is scheduled to appear in court on May 28, according to WJW.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

This article mentions sexual assault. If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-4673.

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