TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A St. Petersburg man was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for attempting to meet a 5-year-old child for sex, according to the Department of Justice.
Court documents revealed Eric James Templeton, 33, chatted and texted with an individual he believed to be the mother of a 5-year-old child between May 19 and May 21, 2020, to express his desire to meet and sexually abuse the child.
Authorities say the “mother” of the 5-year-old was actually an undercover Homeland Security Investigations agent.
In May 2020, Templeton agreed to meet the “mother” and her child for that purpose. Templeton later arrived at an agreed-upon 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.
A U.S. District Judge later sentenced Templeton 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.
“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.