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Press Release

Former CENTCOM Employee Sentenced To 10 Years In Federal Prison For Attempted Sexual Enticement Of A Child

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Orlando, Florida - Chief U.S. District Judge Anne C. Conway today sentenced Stephen Governale (50, Tampa) to 10 years in federal prison for attempted enticement of a minor to engage in a sexual activity. Governale was also ordered to serve a ten-year term of supervision and required to register as a sex offender, following his release from prison. He pleaded guilty on January 29, 2013.

According to court documents, on September 11, 2012, the Federal Bureau of Investigation was contacted by the parents of a seventeen-year-old child who was receiving sexually inappropriate messages from Governale. At the time of his arrest, Governale, a United States Air Force Reserve Lieutenant Colonel, was a protocol officer at CENTCOM in Tampa. In an interview, the child victim explained that he met Governale through an organization affiliated with the military. He said that he went with Governale to conferences and stayed in Governale’s hotel room. The victim also stated that he and Governale had watched pornographic movies and engaged in sexual activity while staying together.

On September 21, 2012, as Governale was planning to travel to Central Florida for business, a Task Force Agent with the FBI assumed the child victim’s on-line identity. The agent began to communicate online with Governale. During th online chats Governale attempted to entice the child victim to engage in sexual activity. Governale also arranged to meet the victim at a location in Central Florida. When Governale arrived, he was arrested by the FBI.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg.

This is another case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit for more information about internet safety education.

Updated January 26, 2015