A former sheriff's deputy has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for sex-related crimes with a minor.
According to reports, 47-year-old Joseph Patton was sentenced Friday to a range of eight to 18 years, with the length to be decided by a judge.
Patton pleaded guilty in Wilson County to three counts of sexual battery by an authority figure and three counts of soliciting sexual exploitation of a minor in August.
The victim was 14 when Patton began the relationship that involved inappropriate physical contact without intercourse and exchanges of explicit photos and text messages, according to testimony.
Patton was a 24-year veteran of the Wilson County sheriff's department. He was fired in 2016 when the charges surfaced. He had also worked as a school resource officer in 2013.