St. Petersburg man charged with attempting to entice a 5 year-old girl for sexual activity via online chat with her “mother”

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Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces the arrest and filing of a criminal complaint charging 31 year-old Eric James Templeton of St. Petersburg with attempted online enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity.    

According to the complaint, from May 19 through May 21, 2020, Templeton engaged in chats, through an online site and through text messaging, with an individual he believed to be the mother of a five-year-old female child.

On multiple occasions during those conversations, Templeton indicated to the “mother,” actually an undercover Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent, his desire to engage in sexual activity with the minor “child.” On May 21, 2020, Templeton asked to meet the “mother,” and her five-year-old “child” for that purpose. He wrote in detail what he wanted to do to the child in excruciating detail.

Templeton arrived at the agreed upon time and location and was subsequently arrested. A search of Templeton’s person uncovered a bottle of personal lubricant and two lollipops. He was booked into the Pinellas County Jail in the afternoon of Thursday, May 21, 2020.

If convicted, Templeton faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years, and up to life, in federal prison and a potential life term of supervised release.   

According to his Facebook page, he works as a Sergeant at a local private security company and studies elementary/special education at St. Petersburg College.

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

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