Jacksonville couple participated in sex trafficking of child, used money for drugs, says DOJ

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Jacksonville husband and wife have both plead guilty for their role in the sex trafficking of a child in exchange for illegal drugs.

Samuel Christopher Templeman, 46, has pleaded guilty to conspiring to sex traffic a child. His wife, Deborah Lynn Templeman, 50, has pleaded guilty to possession of child sex abuse material, according to court documents.

In 2018, investigators say Samuel Templeman and the victim began regularly using heroin and crack cocaine together. Around that time, a pimp began asking the child victim to engage in various sexual acts in exchange for drugs, according to the plea agreements.

In July 2019, a court terminated the Templemans’ custodial rights over the victim and ordered them not to have any contact with the child. The child was then placed in foster care, from which investigators say the child ran away.

A month later, Samuel Templeman received a sizable inheritance, which the Templemans used to lure the child back. By mid-October 2019, court documents reveal the Templemans had spent all the money, primarily on drugs for Samuel Templeman and the victim.

According to federal investigators, once the inheritance was gone, the couple again began sex trafficking the child. The Templemans’ spent most of that money on drugs and the rest on living expenses.

In December 2019, a detective from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office went to Deborah Templeman’s job to in an attempt to locate the victim. The detective overheard phone conversations in which Samuel Templeman told his wife that he was taking the victim on a “date,” a common slang term for an appointment for the child to perform sex acts in exchange for money.

When Samuel Templeman later arrived at Deborah Templeman’s workplace, he was taken into custody and the child victim was rescued.

Investigators say Samuel Templeman faces a maximum penalty of life in federal prison, and his wife faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. A sentencing date for the couple has not yet been set.

If you believe you are a victim of Human Trafficking or suspect an adult is a victim of human trafficking, please visit the National Human Trafficking Hotline, or call them at 1-888-3737-888.

If you suspect a child is a victim, please call the Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE.

Florida has local task forces which encompass every one of Florida’s 67 Counties.

This 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 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 www.justice.gov/psc.

Samantha Mathers

Samantha Mathers, Action News Jax

Samantha Mathers is a digital reporter and content creator for Action News Jax.