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Former Red Sox Pitcher Arrested in Jacksonville Child Predator Sting

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (WFLA) – Former Red Sox player Austin Maddox has been arrested in Jacksonville, Florida, after allegedly attempting to meet a minor for sex, Sheriff T.K. Waters announced on Monday. The arrest was part of a broader undercover operation targeting child predators.

Operation Valiant Knights

The sting operation, named “Operation Valiant Knights,” was conducted from April 24 to April 28. It resulted in the arrest of 27 men who allegedly solicited sexual activity with minors. According to Sheriff Waters, these individuals “committed to engaging in sex acts with purported minors at pre-arranged locations.”

The Arrest of Austin Maddox

Among those arrested was 33-year-old Austin Maddox, a former pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and a Jacksonville native. Sheriff Waters accused Maddox of traveling with the intent to engage in sexual activity with a 14-year-old child. Video footage released by the sheriff’s office shows Maddox exiting a red truck and approaching a home, where instead of meeting a minor, he was tackled to the ground by deputies.

Charges Against Maddox

According to his inmate profile, Maddox faces multiple charges, including:

  • Traveling to meet a minor after using a computer to seduce/solicit/lure a child
  • Solicitation of a child via computer to engage in sexual conduct
  • Unlawful use of a two-way communication device
  • Producing/promoting performance involving sexual performance by a child

Maddox’s Background

Austin Maddox played for the Red Sox from 2017 to 2019 before retiring from professional baseball in 2020. His arrest has shocked the sports community and raised awareness about the prevalence of such crimes.

Sheriff’s Statement

Sheriff Waters emphasized the importance of operations like “Operation Valiant Knights” in protecting children from predators. “These adults solicited sexual activity and committed to engaging in sex acts with purported minors at pre-arranged locations,” he said. The sheriff’s office is committed to continuing such efforts to ensure the safety and well-being of minors.

Community Reaction

The arrest of Maddox, a once-prominent sports figure, has sent ripples through the Jacksonville community and beyond. It highlights the ongoing issue of child exploitation and the need for vigilant law enforcement operations to combat such activities.


Austin Maddox’s arrest as part of “Operation Valiant Knights” underscores the critical role of undercover stings in identifying and apprehending individuals who prey on minors. The charges against Maddox and others involved in the operation reflect the seriousness of their alleged actions and the legal consequences they face. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, under the leadership of Sheriff T.K. Waters, continues to prioritize the protection of children and the prosecution of those who seek to exploit them.


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Patrick Zarrelli

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