Wisconsin man nabbed in Knoxville underage sex sting

Not only was Eric Michael Johnson willing to drive from Wisconsin to Knoxville to have sex with a 12-year-old girl, but he was prepared to marry her — as soon as she was legally old enough, court records unsealed Thursday show.

Johnson, 28, made the 10-hour drive from Janesville, Wis., to a hotel in Knoxville on Tuesday, but instead of finding the girl and her pimp mom, Johnson instead was greeted by police, according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Guyton has ordered Johnson jailed pending trial on a charge of interstate travel with the intent to engage in sex with a minor. His arrest came after an undercover probe involving the Knoxville Internet Crimes Against Children task force, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Blount County Sheriff’s Office.

The probe began Oct. 3 when ICAC Agent Tom Evans, who was posing as a mother hoping to pimp her 12-year-old daughter on a website catering to sexual deviants, received a message from “yourteddybear85x,” according to a complaint drafted by ICAC Lt. Warren Hamlin.

Four days after the initial contact, “yourteddybear85x” was committed to relocating to Knoxville, becoming the girl’s boyfriend and marrying her when she was of legal age, the complaint stated.

“I’m very romantic and sweet,” the man wrote to whom he thought was the girl’s mother. “I love to give massages, cuddle, kiss, and I’m very skilled in bed. I also have experience with virgins, and I had sex with my cousin when she was 13.”

The man also sent an email to the fictitious girl, according to court records.

“This is Eric and I’m soo (sic) excited to come and see you on Tuesday,” the man wrote. “Your mom showed your pics (sic) and, wow, you are very beautiful. I will take such good care of you, sweetheart. I’m very gentle and will take my time with you.”

According to the complaint, the man explained he became obsessed with sex when he was just 10 years old and “became a nudist.”

“My dad and stepmom would be completely naked and open with me,” he wrote. “They were swingers, so the other families would bring their girls over.”

The man repeatedly bragged about his sexual prowess and his drive.

Evans arranged a meeting with “yourteddybear85x” at an unidentified Knoxville hotel on Tuesday night. Just after 11 p.m., a Hyundai sedan with a Wisconsin license plate drove into the hotel parking lot. Johnson was the driver and sole occupant, Hamlin wrote in the complaint.

“Eric Michael Johnson was observed to be the same individual depicted in two images sent from the subject (“yourteddybear85x”) to the undercover email account during the investigation,” the lieutenant wrote.

Story by Jamie Satterfield of the Knoxville News Sentinel