U.S. Attorney’s Office
December 11, 2015
Middle District of Florida
Tampa Man Sentenced to More Than 19 Years for Transporting a Minor Across State Lines to Engage in Sexual Activity
No Additional Charges to be Filed in Probe Involving 2010 Mayoral Election and Other Local and Federal Elections
TAMPA, FL—U.S. District Judge Mary S. Scriven has sentenced Stephen Farris Underwood (47, Tampa) to 19 years and 7 months in federal prison for transporting a minor across state lines to engage in sexual activity.
According to court documents, Underwood traveled from Tampa to Missouri to meet a minor with whom he had been corresponding online. Underwood picked the boy up from a Missouri shopping center and transported him to his residence in Florida. It was Underwood’s intent that he and the minor would live together as a couple in Tampa. Underwood engaged in numerous sex acts with the minor while he was at his home. The parents of the minor, who was 15 at the time, did not give Underwood permission to leave the state with their son.
This case was investigated by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the Mountain View (Missouri) Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stacie B. Harris.
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.