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Press Release

Manatee County Man Convicted Of Producing And Possessing Child Sexual Abuse Material And Transporting Minor Victims With Intent To Engage In Sexual Activity

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

Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that a federal jury has found Roger Lee Caldwell, Jr. (40, Bradenton) guilty of producing child sexual abuse material, two counts of transporting minors with intent to engage in sexual activity, and possession of child sexual abuse material. Caldwell faces a maximum penalty of life in federal prison. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 15, 2024. Caldwell was indicted on May 17, 2023.

According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, Caldwell sexually abused both victims for approximately five years, beginning at the age of eight. Caldwell also produced an image of one of the victims at the age of nine, while forcing her to engage in a sex act. The image, recovered from Caldwell’s cellphone, depicted Caldwell wearing a uniquely designed belt, the same belt worn by Caldwell at the time of his arrest.

In March 2022, Caldwell traveled alone with both victims to Ohio, where he sexually abused them multiple times during the trip. Upon their return home, both victims disclosed the sexual abuse to law enforcement. One of the victims retained a pair of underwear worn after the last time Caldwell had sexually assaulted her during the road trip. A DNA analysis of the underwear confirmed the presence of Caldwell’s semen.

Caldwell also had a collection of child sexual abuse material on a computer seized during a search of his home.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, the Bradenton Police Department, the Palmetto Police Department, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Stacie Harris, Courtney Derry, and Abigail King.

It is another case brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 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, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue child victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

Updated February 9, 2024

Project Safe Childhood