Former Champions Tour player arrested in Florida child-sex sting
Professional golfer Steve Thomas [right] was one of 40 people arrested in a sting operation and charged with soliciting sex from a minor via the Internet, the Osceola County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.
Thomas, 55, of Meridian, Miss., was charged with Travel to Seduce Child to Commit Sex Acts; Use of Computer to Seduce/Solicit/Entice a Parent, Legal Guardian or Custodian of Child to Commit Sex Acts on the Child; Attempted Lewd & Lascivious Battery on a Child, according to the sheriff’s office.
In 2009, Thomas played in 19 events on the Champions Tour, earning $157,549. According to the PGA Tour’s website, Thomas turned pro in 1980. His most successful season on the PGA Tour was 1988, when he played in 29 events, making nine cuts and earning $22,669.
The arrests were the result of a week-long, multi-agency, undercover operation called “Operation Red Cheeks.” As part of the sting, undercover detectives posed as children or their parents in chat rooms and on Internet messaging programs. According to the sheriff’s department, suspects traveled to a meeting location in Osceola County with the purpose of having sex with a child.