SANFORD, Fla. — Two years ago, Joel Bryan Eddy was a detention officer for the agency overseeing youthful offenders in Volusia County- - now, he's a 42-year-old felon, convicted of traveling for sex with a 12-year-old girl named Tracey with her father’s blessing in an undercover sex sting.
- Joel Bryan Eddy sentenced to five years in prison
- Former detention officer now appears on sex-offender website
- Eddy found fictional dad-daughter team on Craigslist
- More Seminole County headlines
The girl and her father were undercover officers for the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office. He was arrested June 20, 2017.
After his arrest in 2017, Eddy told officers he drove from his home in New Smyrna Beach in his 2011 Honda Fit to a Wawa parking lot in Lake Mary to meet up with Tracey “and whatever happens, happens,” records said.
“Eddy said he had no expectations,” the report noted. However, according to his sentencing report, Eddy acknowledged if he had met an actual 12-year-old girl, he would have probably followed through with sex acts.
He brought a $50 bill, the amount he negotiated with Tracey’s dad to perform a sex act on her.
Eddy, who debuted this week on Florida’s sex-offender registry, was sentenced in Seminole County last week to nearly five years in state prison.
Under a plea agreement, Seminole-Brevard Circuit Court Judge John D. Galluzzo on June 5 found Eddy guilty of unlawful travel to meet a minor facilitated by a legal guardian, a second-degree felony.
The judge imposed a 60-month prison term with 38 days credit for the time he served in jail.
Galluzzo also adjudicated Eddy guilty to another second-degree felony — attempted lewd or lascivious battery — and sentenced him to five years of sex-offender probation.
Eddy entered no-contest pleas to both charges. He will be labeled a sex-offender after leaving prison.
He worked for the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice in Volusia County before the undercover sex sting.
The agency did not fully respond this week when asked to summarize his work performance. However, the agency noted that Eddy was a detention officer and such workers are not sworn law-enforcement officers like police officers and deputies.
According to records, Eddy turned to Craigslist personal ads five years earlier, he told later investigators, looking for potential dates with women or couples. He had a girlfriend, but they were in counseling because he reportedly cheated on her. He also said he was taking medications for depression.
Eddy said he never got into any trouble with children, including when he was a detention officer. He told investigators never arranged an online hookup until he found Tracey and her dad under a “taboo” listing on Craigslist.
An undercover officer posted an advertisement, declaring it “Taboo Thursday” and inviting like-minded people to make contact.
“Hi. How are you doing tonight? I've always loved taboo,” Eddy wrote, records show. “It's hard to find someone else into it.”
That was on May 26, 2017, the arrest reports states.
Eddy asked and received “dad’s” number. They exchanged texts.
At one point, the undercover officer sent a photo to Eddy of a female officer that was taken when she was 12 or 13, according to records. Eddy had phone conversations with the officer posing as the father and another officer posing as the 12-year-girl.
Eddy had contact with officers on 13 different days, including the day of his arrest.
“Over the course of approximately four weeks, Eddy stated multiple times that he wanted to meet to have sex with the minor,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a report.
Eddy arranged to meet with the fictional father and daughter at 2 p.m. June 20, 2017 by the air pumps at the Wawa at 3510 N. U.S. Highway 17-92 in Lake Mary and go back to their place for sex.
He arrived at 1:42 p.m. and was arrested.