A 47-year-old Fort Collins man has been arrested after attempting to initiate sexual contact with a child he met over the internet.

According to Fort Collins Police, the suspect, identified as Christopher Patterson, first began engaging with a Facebook account that appeared to belong to a 13-year-old girl back in April of 2021. During their conversations that took place via Facebook Messenger, Patterson discussed meeting up for sex and drug use, and also shared sexually explicit photos.

As it turns out, the Facebook account that Patterson was interacting with was actually being handled by an undercover police officer in Eastern Colorado. Upon learning where Patterson lived, the officer turned the case over to the Fort Collins Police Services Crimes Against Persons Unit for further investigation.

A FCPS detective continued to talk to Patterson through the fake Facebook account, and in August, the two eventually arranged to meet in person. At this time, a warrant was issued for Patterson's arrest.

When the warrant was issued, Patterson was in custody at the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office, where he was serving time for a separate case.

Patterson now faces felony charges in Larimer County, including Internet Sexual Exploitation of a Child, Internet Luring of a Child, and Enticement of a Child.

Investigators working this case are concerned that Patterson may have  contacted additional social media accounts belonging to actual children in the community, and are asking anyone with information about this suspect or potential inappropriate interactions with minors 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.

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 to 8:00 p.m. To register, or to view our online library of internet safety videos and resources, visit https://www.fcgov.com/police/digital-safety.

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