A former ‘Teacher of the year’ of Knox County who got sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for possessing more than 2,000 images showing child sex abuse has been allowed to retire whilst retaining his benefits all the while still being under active investigation.
Mr. Brian Corrie Patton was placed on administrative leave already in January of this year, some three days after his initial arrest. Just last week he pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual exploitation of minors.
The teacher brought in his computer to a repair shop who alerted the police after finding the images on his hard drive. The Knoxville Police Department Crimes Against Children Task Force immediately started investigating him. Their spokesman, Mr. Darrell DeBusk said: "They saw what they thought might be child pornography on it and alerted us."
Due to the timing of his conviction just last week, Mr. Patton was able to hang on to his Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System benefits which he obtained from February of this year.
Normally, Federal and state employees automatically lose those benefits should they be convicted of a state or federal crime which is linked to their employment.
The spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Treasury, Ms. Shelli King, however, said her department was not informed of his conviction and therefore did not think Mr. Patton would forfeit his benefits.
Mr. Patton was a music teacher at Pleasant Ridge Elementary School where he was elected as the 2014 Pre-K through 4th grade Pleasant Ridge Elementary teacher of the year. The school did confirm that none of the pictures found on his computer was of any students of their school itself.
The gentleman has a theological background and attended the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky.