A Fort Collins man has been arrested for online attempts to initiate sex with a child.
In April 2021, a suspect identified as Christopher Patterson, 47, engaged with a Facebook account that appeared to belong to a 13-year-old girl. In fact, the account was administered by an undercover police officer in Eastern Colorado. During conversations on Facebook Messenger, the suspect shared sexually explicit photos and discussed meeting up for sex and drug use.
Upon confirming that Patterson lived in Fort Collins, the officer turned the case over to the Fort Collins Police Services Crimes Against Persons Unit. A FCPS detective continued contact through the account, and the suspect attempted to arrange a time to meet in person. A warrant was issued for Patterson’s arrest in August and was served at the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office where he was in custody for a separate case. Patterson faces the following charges in Larimer County:
- Internet Sexual Exploitation of a Child (class 4 felony)
- Internet Luring of a Child (class 4 felony)
- Enticement of a Child (class 4 felony)
Police are concerned that Patterson may have contacted social media accounts belonging to actual children. Anyone with information about this suspect or potential inappropriate interactions with minors is asked to contact Detective Laura Knudsen at 970-416-2771. People who wish to remain anonymous may also contact Crime Stoppers of Larimer County at 970-221-6868 or www.stopcriminals.org. A photo of Patterson is attached for reference.
All charges are simply an accusation by law enforcement officers, and all parties must be presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.
“Predators often groom victims to build trust before escalating to inappropriate interactions,” said Assistant Chief Tim Doran, who leads the Criminal Investigations Division. “We urge parents to take an active role in monitoring their children’s virtual presence and engage in ongoing family discussions about digital safety.”
Fort Collins Police Services offers free Internet Safety presentations to help parents, caregivers, and adolescents navigate social media and recognize the signs of online predators. The next session will be held on November 9, 2021 from 6:30—8:00 p.m. To register, or to view our online library of internet safety videos and resources, please visit https://www.fcgov.com/police/digital-safety.