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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Tennessee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Registered Sex Offender Indicted For Federal Child Exploitation Offenses

Memphis, TN – A federal grand jury has indicted a registered sex offender, Rodney Allen Patterson, 54, for new federal child exploitation charges. D. Michael Dunavant, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee announced the indictment today.

According to information presented in court, Patterson has lived in both Benton and Carroll Counties in West Tennessee. The indictment alleges that in February 2020, Patterson was found to be in possession of a cell phone that contained images and videos of child pornography. Further investigation resulted in identification of the children depicted, and Patterson's role in producing the images and videos, which were made between December 2019 and February 2020. The children were all under twelve years of age, and at least one was younger than ten.

Patterson was indicted for multiple counts of Production and Possession of Child Pornography, for which the mandatory minimum sentence for each count is 15 years, and up to 30 years in federal prison. Because Patterson was required to register as a sex offender due to a prior state conviction at the time the images were produced, he also faces a ten-year sentence consecutive to any sentence imposed on the underlying charges. Patterson is also facing state criminal charges in Benton County.

Benton County Sheriff Ken Christopher said that investigating crimes against children is a top priority for his Department, and urged that anyone who knows about crimes of this nature should come forward and report because "the safety and welfare of our children is our duty and obligation, in partnership with the citizens of Benton County." Pursuant to Tennessee State law, any person who has knowledge of any sexual abuse against a minor child has a mandatory statutory duty to immediately report the same to law enforcement or the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services. https://www.tn.gov/dcs/program-areas/child-safety/reporting/hotline-faq.html.

FBI Memphis - Jackson Resident Agency and the Benton County Sheriff's Department continue to investigate, and search for any other children who may have been victimized. Please contact Benton County Sheriff Ken Christopher at 731-584-4633 or the FBI at 901-747-4300 to make a report.

U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said: "The U.S. Attorney’s office and our law enforcement partners are still open, and remain proactive and vigilant in our investigations. Let this indictment serve notice to those who exploit, abuse, and victimize minor children: You cannot hide, we will track you down, and you will be held accountable for such disturbing and predatory criminal conduct."

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), 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 Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, PSC 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 PSC, please visit https://www.justice.gov/psc.

An indictment is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Debra K. Ireland is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

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Contact: 
Cherri Green Public Affairs (901) 544-4231 Cherri.Green@usdoj.gov
Updated May 26, 2020