A Bowling Green man who admitted flying cross-country to meet a juvenile for sex was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years and five months in prison.
Christopher Brandon Petty, 34, was sentenced in U.S. District Court, resolving a case in which federal prosecutors said he traveled to Oregon to have sex with a 15-year-old girl he met online.
U.S. Chief District Judge Greg Stivers also mandated that Petty be on lifetime supervised release after completing his prison sentence.
Petty came to the attention of authorities in 2017 when an undercover investigation by Kentucky State Police’s Electronic Crimes Branch led to his arrest on a state charge of using electronic communications to procure a minor for sex.
According to an arrest citation from Nov. 20, 2017, Petty admitted carrying on sexually explicit online chats with a 15-year-old girl over the course of a year before traveling to Portland, Ore., in October 2017 to meet with her.
Police at the time found handwritten notes indicating that he had sent a picture of his genitals to the girl, as well as instructions for the girl as to what to do to keep him from going to jail, according to his arrest citation.
KSP had acted on a complaint from the girl’s father, who reported discovering evidence of nude images and of Petty and the girl on the teen’s cellphone.
The 15-year-old’s father told KSP about discovering an empty blister pack of morning-after contraceptive pills in his daughter’s bedroom and provided KSP with screenshots of a Google Hangouts chat between the girl and Petty, “which included Petty sending sexually suggestive messages using emojis,” according to a criminal complaint sworn by FBI Special Agent Sean Laferte.
“Further investigation determined Petty and (the girl) had been communicating for at least a year via different methods,” Laferte said in the affidavit.
The 15-year-old’s parents conducted a Google Hangouts video chat Nov. 14 with Petty, in which Petty admitted flying to Oregon to see the girl, and he admitted bringing the morning-after pill and condoms, court records said.
Petty indicated during the chat he and the girl had been trading pictures, according to the complaint.
KSP executed a search warrant at Petty’s residence Nov. 20 and seized several electronic devices.
The FBI interviewed the 15-year-old, who told investigators Petty asked her to send him nude pictures of herself through social media, and that Petty sent nude photos of himself to her along with nude photos of another minor female, federal court records show.
The 15-year-old said she and Petty had sex twice during Petty’s visit to Oregon, according to Laferte’s criminal complaint.
After a search warrant was executed at Petty’s residence, the FBI reviewed a hard drive seized from there and found 829 images of child pornography, including 199 images of the girl identified as the victim in this case, according to court records.
A federal grand jury returned a six-count indictment, but the plea agreement Petty reached with prosecutors dismissed charges of producing and distributing child pornography.