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Patton pleads guilty to sexual battery of minor

Matt Masters • Aug 16, 2018 at 3:15 PM

Joseph Patton, the former Wilson County Sheriff deputy who was employed for 24 years, pleaded guilty in the sexual battery of a 16-year-old girl as a part of a plea deal with the district attorney’s office.

The deal included Patton’s guilty plea to three counts of soliciting sexual exploitation of a minor and three counts of sexual battery by an authority figure.

Patton will be sentenced Oct. 12 at 10 a.m. and faces anywhere from 8-18 years of probation, jail time or a combination of the two, which will be determined by Wilson County criminal court Judge John Wootten, Jr.

Patton will be required to pay $5,000 to the victim to help pay for counseling services, register as a violent sexual offender and may have no contact with the victim or her family.

Patton was originally arrested in September 2016, when he admitted he had physical contact, as well as exchanged explicit photos, with the victim. 

Patton was initially charged with 10 counts of aggravated sexual battery by an authority figure and 10 counts of especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor, but some of those charges were reduced in the plea deal. The charges stem from incidents that happened in late 2015 at Patton’s home when he was off duty.

Patton agreed to all the facts laid out by Assistant Attorney General Tom Swink and the details of the plea agreement. He was released on bond until his sentencing date. 

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