BILLINGS – A Billings man who admitted sexually assaulting a minor girl after he lied about his age was sentenced today to 10 years in prison and to 15 years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.
James Robert Patterson, 22, pleaded guilty to coercion and enticement on July 7.
U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen presided and ordered Patterson detained.
The prosecution said in court documents filed in the case that Patterson began communicating in April 2018 with the victim, a minor under the age of 16, using SnapChat and other social media applications. Patterson falsely led the victim to believe he was 16 and sent her sexually explicit pictures of himself. The on-line communications continued, and in June 2018 in Park City, the victim met Patterson in his car. Patterson sexually assaulted the victim and told her not to tell anyone.
Patterson later acknowledged he had sexual intercourse with the victim multiple times and told the victim not to tell anyone because he knew she was a minor and he was 20 years old at the time. Patterson admitted meeting the victim online and acknowledged having an interest in younger girls.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Zeno Baucus prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the FBI.
This case was initiated under the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood initiative, which was launched in 2006 to combat the proliferation of technology-facilitated crimes involving the sexual exploitation of children. Through a network of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and advocacy organizations, Project Safe Childhood attempts to protect children by investigating and prosecuting offenders involved in child sexual exploitation. It is implemented through partnerships including the Montana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The ICAC Task Force Program was created to assist state and local law enforcement agencies by enhancing their investigative response to technology facilitated crimes against children.