POLK COUNTY, FL – On Monday, August 2, 2021, detectives from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Special Victims Unit arrested a Lakeland man after their investigation determined he had inappropriate sexual contact with an 8-year-old, whom he had custodial access to.
32-year old Eric Roe was charged with ‘Sexual Battery by Custodian’ and ‘Lewd/Lascivious Molestation.’
“A crime such as this is absolutely sickening,” said Sheriff Grady Judd. “The victim is so young, and the perpetrator is in a position of trust; he was someone the child should have been able to look up to. We are going to do everything we can to hold him accountable and make sure he does not have access to victimize a child again.”
Deputies first became aware of the allegations at about 1:55 PM on Monday, when the mother of the victim reported that Roe had just admitted to her that he touch her child inappropriately. She told the deputy that when the victim told her about numerous incidents, she immediately confronted Roe and he said what he did was, “animalistic” and he was ashamed of “fondling” the victim.
The victim’s mother reported that she believed Roe left with a firearm and was acting suicidal.
At about 4:30 PM, deputies located Roe at Gator Creek Reserve, and in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
During an interview with detectives, Roe initially admitted to molesting the victim approximately five times, beginning when the victim was as young as 4-years old. He later said it happened between eight and ten times.
Eric Roe was transported to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Processing Center where he was booked-in.