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Press Release

St. Petersburg Man Sentenced To Fifteen Years For Attempting To Entice And Meet A 5-Year-Old Child For Sex

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

Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Thomas P. Barber has sentenced Eric James Templeton (33, St. Petersburg) to 15 years in federal prison for attempting to entice and meet a 5-year-old child for sex. Templeton was also ordered to serve a 15-year term of supervised release, to register as a sex offender, and to pay $11,700 in restitution. 

Templeton had pleaded guilty on March 9, 2021.

According to court documents, from May 19 through May 21, 2020, Templeton engaged in online chats and text messaging with an individual whom he believed to be the mother of a 5-year-old child. During those conversations, Templeton indicated to the “mother” (actually an undercover Homeland Security Investigations agent) his desire to meet and sexually abuse the child. On May 21, 2020, Templeton agreed to meet the “mother” and her child for that purpose. Templeton arrived at the meeting location in Tampa and was arrested by HSI agents. A search of Templeton’s person revealed that he was carrying a bottle of lubricant and two lollipops.

“Thanks to the partnership between HSI special agents and the Pasco Sheriff’s Office, this child predator will now be behind bars,” said HSI Tampa Assistant Special Agent in Charge Micah McCombs.

This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Erin Claire Favorit.

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 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 victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit  

Updated November 17, 2021

Project Safe Childhood