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Former SHS principal sentence to 10 years for child pornography

A former Sherwood High School principal has been sentenced to more than 10 years in prison following his plea of guilty to possession of child pornography.

Robert Paul Patton, 45, was sentenced Tuesday, July 1, before U.S. District Judge Garr M. King, who gave him a 127-month prison sentence followed by a ten-year term of supervised release.

Patton will be subject to

stringent conditions of

supervision, including prohibitions on

associating with minors, restrictions on where he can live, and restrictions on his use of computers, according to federal prosecutors. In addition, he will be required to participate in sex offender treatment, and must continue to register as a sex offender.

This is Patton’s fourth criminal conviction. In 2003, he was convicted in Washington County of possessing materials depicting sexually explicit conduct of a child and two counts of third-degree sexual abuse, after twice having sexual relations with a 16-year-old boy.

The latter incident involved a Clackamas County youth, who was not a Sherwood High School student. Patton, who served as principal at Sherwood High for 2 1/2 years, met the boy in an Internet chat room.

Then, in 2011, he was convicted in Multnomah County of failure to register as a sex offender. In 2013, Patton was convicted in Multnomah County of attempted first-degree sexual abuse in connection with an incident involving a 12-year-old boy.

During the course of that investigation, detectives from the Portland Police Bureau served a state search warrant at Patton’s Milwaukie residence, and seized computer equipment later found to contain child pornography, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. After filing and litigating motions to suppress the evidence seized from his residence, Patton pled guilty to possessing child pornography, reserving the right to appeal the denial of his motions.

Marshall praised the sentence imposed on Patton, noting that it reflected the serious nature of Patton’s criminal conduct. “Prior to being caught in possession of child pornography, which lead to the conviction in this case, Robert Patton had a criminal history going back to when he was a high school principal who possessed child pornography and sexually abused a teenage boy,” she said in the release. “Patton’s conduct was particularly concerning, because it suggests an ongoing sexual interest in children that did not abate following his first conviction.”

She also said that Patton’s sentence “sends a clear message to those who prey on our children.”

Because of his prior Washington County conviction, Patton faced a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. In imposing the 127-month sentence, Judge King took into account the nature and seriousness of the offense, Patton’s background, history and characteristics, the need to provide just punishment and adequate deterrence, and the need to protect the public.

Judge King noted that Patton served a 24-month sentence in the Multnomah County attempted sex abuse case, and while serving that sentence, made “good use” and “appropriate use” of his time, tutoring other inmates, completing training courses, and participating in various activities.

King also noted that Patton had “a great deal of support” from his family. For his part, Patton apologized to his victims, sought forgiveness, and promised to “get help.”

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.

This case was investigated by the Beaverton Police Department, the Portland Police

Bureau and the Northwest Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory. Assistant U. S. Attorney Gary Sussman, Project Safe Childhood coordinator for Oregon, led the prosecution.

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