The Overton County Sheriff’s Department arrested a man Thursday, July 11, for soliciting a minor for sex online.
Patrick L. Johnson, 37, of Mt. Pleasant, Tenn., has been charged with three felonies and a misdemeanor: felony solicitation of a minor, felony solicitation by electronic means, felony solicitation by an authority figure and misdemeanor attempted statutory rape by an authority figure.
He was lodged in Overton County Jail on $200,000 bond on each of the four counts.
Overton County Sheriff’s Department lead detective Tom Rosecrants said Johnson was arrested following a lengthy investigation during which Rosecrants posed as a 13-year-old girl.
Rosecrants said the investigation began about six weeks ago, when the OSCD was contacted by the parents of a 13-year-old girl. The parents were concerned because their daughter was allegedly receiving inappropriate and explicit text messages on her phone and iPad from Johnson.
The Overton County girl had played one time for the Tennessee Orange Crush softball team, for which Johnson was a coach. The texts began after the girl played one time for the team.
“He was getting explicit,” Rosecrants said of Johnson’s texts. “At that time (the parents) signed a consent for me to assume the girl’s identity online.”
Rosecrants also kept the girl’s cell phone and iPad so he could continue texting Johnson, pretending to be the girl.
Since this is the first case of its type in Putnam County, Rosecrants called on some experts in the field three weeks ago. He said those experts confirmed that his work was solid and that there was enough information for an arrest at that point, however, Johnson was still in Mt. Pleasant.
That all changed Thursday, when Johnson spontaneously texted the girl’s phone to announce he was in town.
“He thought he was coming here to have sex with a 13-year-old girl,” Rosecrants said.
Rosecrants texted Johnson, posing as the girl, and set up a meeting at a private residence. There, Johnson was taken into custody.
Rosecrants said he has already contacted the Orange Crush softball team.
“My concern is that he’s done this to someone else,” he said.
Rosecrants said the case was difficult, but he would have no second thoughts about conducting another investigation of this type.
“Every one of these predators need to be taken off the streets…” Rosecrants said. “All these 13-year-old girls looked up to him as their coach…I’d do it again in a second.”
“This is present everywhere, even in small town Tennessee,” Chief Deputy John Garrett said.
He urges all parents to monitor their children’s communication devices and online.
“There’s predators everywhere who will take advantage,” Garrett said.
Overton County inmate Johnny Crossman is back where he belongs.
Crossman was arrested without incident Friday night, July 12, Overton County lead detective Tom Rosecrants said.
Friday, Rosecrants spoke with Crossman’s fiance, who said she had spoken with him and that he would be calling her sister-in-law’s home shortly. Rosecrants took the fiance to her sister-in-law’s and she spoke with Crossman on the phone, encouraging him to turn himself in. Rosecrants finally asked her to tell Crossman he wanted to speak with him.
“I heard a sigh, then ‘yeah, I guess,’ and she handed me the phone,” Rosecrants said.
He spoke with Crossman for about three hours on the phone, slowly building trust, Rosecrants said.
“He said his life was messed up and I told him the worst thing he could do is keep running,” Rosecrants said.
After all that talking, Crossman gave Rosecrants the address in Cookeville where he was hiding. Rosecrants drove to Cookeville, pulled up at the address, opened the door and Crossman got inside.
The entire arrest happened without incident, no raised voices, no gun pulled, and no shots fired, Rosecrants said. Once Crossman was in the car, Rosecrants just drove straight to the Overton County Justice Center and put Crossman back in jail.
The Overton County Sheriff’s Department searched for him throughout the week. The day he escaped, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department brought their dog to assist in the search and the Tennessee Highway Patrol brought a helicopter to search from the air.
Rosecrants and Crossman already had something of a relationship in the works. Rosecrants is the one who arrested Crossman on a theft charge a little over a year ago. Crossman was less than six months into his six-year sentence on that charge when he escaped.
Rosecrants said Crossman will now have an additional charge of escape and Jackson County has the option to revoke his 16-year probation on a different charge. The escape change can add an additional one to three years to his six-year sentence. If Jackson County revokes his probation, that could add additional years as well, Rosecrants said.
Rosecrants did say that he’ll do what he can to help Crossman because it was a nonviolent escape and capture and it’s his first offense.
“There was an incident in the jail the night before (he escaped). Someone bled on him and he’s a germophobe and he freaked,” Rosecrants said. “That’s why he ran, he was scared.”
No matter what is added to his sentence, one thing is for sure, Rosecrants said. Crossman will be on a different type of lock down and he won’t be on any work crews in the future.