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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

Friday, December 12, 2014

St. Petersburg Resident Indicted For Attempting To Entice A Minor For Sex

Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces the return of an indictment charging Joseph Edward Devlin (49), previously a resident of Indianapolis, Indiana, who recently relocated to St. Petersburg, with attempted child enticement. If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years, up to life, in federal prison. The indictment also notifies Devlin that the United States intends to forfeit a cell phone, computers, and various computer-related items that were used in the offense. Devlin was arrested on December 5, 2014.

According to court documents, an undercover federal agent was conducting an online investigation to identify adults who were attempting to use the Internet to meet children for sex. The agent posted an online profile as a single “mother” on a website known to promote related sex topics. Between October 15, 2014 and December 5, 2014, Devlin engaged in online conversations with the “mother,” during which he wrote that he always had a “mother/daughter fantasy.” He repeatedly expressed an interest in having sex with the “mother’s” notional “child.” Devlin explicitly wrote about the sexual acts that he wanted to engage in with the “12-year-old” notional “daughter.” At one point during the communications, Devlin sent a naked photograph of himself and subsequently made plans to meet the “mother” and “daughter” at a restaurant in South Tampa. When he arrived at the designated location, he was arrested.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Amanda C. Kaiser.

It is another case 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

Updated January 26, 2015