Teacher got benefits during child porn investigation
An ex-Knox County music teacher who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for possessing more than 2,000 images depicting child sex abuse retired with benefits while he was under investigation, according to his personnel file.
Brian Corrie Patton, 65, of Knoxville, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor last week.
He was placed on paid administrative leave Jan. 27, three days after he was arrested.
The Knoxville Police Department Crimes Against Children Task Force began investigating Patton after he dropped his personal computer off at a repair shop.
“They saw what they thought might be child pornography on it and alerted us,” said KPD spokesman Darrell DeBusk.
Their investigation confirmed it. Patton gave police permission to search the rest of his electronic devices and they turned up more than 2,000 images of child pornography.
On Feb. 2, Patton elected to retire with benefits under the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System. Federal and state employees can lose those benefits if they are convicted of a state or federal crime arising from their employment.
Tennessee Department of Treasury spokeswoman Shelli King said the department did not have reason to believe that was the case with Patton and he will not forfeit his benefits.
Debusk said police were able to confirm that none of Patton’s images were of Knox County Schools students, and the investigation did not lead police to believe there was any reason to check Patton’s work iPad, desktop or laptop computers.
Police instructed Knox County Schools information technology personnel to let them know if they found any images of concern during their own review, according to Debusk.
Patton taught music at Pleasant Ridge Elementary School and was listed on the Knox County Schools website as the 2014 Pre-K through 4th grade Pleasant Ridge Elementary teacher of the year.
Before working at Pleasant Ridge, Patton taught at Fulton High School and South Doyle Middle School.
According to his file, he has a theological background and attended Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, a prominent seminary in Kentucky.