Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Virginia Hernandez Covington has sentenced Eric Paul Jones (44, New Port Richey) to 30 years and 5 months in federal prison for production and possession of child sex abuse material. The court also ordered Jones to forfeit the electronic devices used in the commission of the offense and entered an order of restitution to the victims in the amount of $18,528, and an assessment in the amount of $18,000 to the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Fund. Jones had pleaded guilty on October 13, 2022.
According to court documents, Jones belonged to an online group dedicated to discussing and trading child sex abuse material. On April 19, 2021, Jones began communicating with an undercover FBI agent. Jones told the undercover agent that he had engaged in sexual activity with a 10-year-old child, to whom he had access. Jones then sent the undercover agent sexually explicit videos and images he had produced of the child victim, as well as child sex abuse material he possessed of other victims.
A few days later, on April 22, 2021, the FBI executed a search warrant for Jones’s residence, as well as for the cellphone Jones had used to communicate with the undercover agent. A search of Jones’s cellphone revealed that he was in possession of more than 100 child sex abuse images and videos of young children engaged in sexually explicit conduct, some of which included infants and toddlers subjected to bondage and sadomasochistic conduct. The FBI also found the same images and videos that Jones had sent to the undercover agent on Jones’s cellphone. Jones later admitted to agents that he had been producing child sex abuse images of the child victim for several years.
“While it’s heartbreaking to learn of yet another child victim of a sexual predator, it’s reassuring to learn of the dedicated work by special agents to make sure that predator spends a long time in prison for his despicable crime,” said FBI Tampa Division Special Agent in Charge David Walker.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia, the Pasco Sheriff's Office, and the Tampa Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lisa M. Thelwell.
This 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 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 www.justice.gov/psc.