Jan 27, 2012 4:34 PM by Tonya LaCoste
A federal grand jury indicted 22-year-old Eric Manuel, the Lafayette man accused of sex crimes involving teenage boys. Manuel is indicted for production of child pornography and attempting to persuade a minor to engage in criminal sexual acts. "Eric Michael Manuel is charged in a 20-count indictment with 18 counts of production of child pornography and two counts of using a facility in interstate commerce to persuade a minor to engage in criminal sexual acts," U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley said. Manuel is a former youth minister at St. Thomas More High School and owns Half Back media. He recorded sporting events at various schools in Acadiana and sold those recording to parents.
Investigators say Manuel posed as a 14 year-old female named Emily Brant and used Facebook and his cell phone to pursue teenage males. Parents are encouraged to talk to their children to find out if they've been in touch with Manuel under his alias, State Police Trooper Stephen Hammons said.
If convicted of production of child pornography, Manuel could face a maximum sentence of 30 years and a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, a $250,000.00 fine, or both. If
convicted of using a facility in interstate commerce to persuade a minor to engage in criminal sexual acts, manuel could face a maximum penalty of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.
The FBI, Louisiana State Police and the Lafayette Police Dept. are investigating the case, and Assistant United States Attorney John Luke Walker is the prosecutor. The number for the Lafayette FBI office is 337-233-2164.