An attorney from Liberty, Mo. faces multiple sex crime charges in Platte County as a result of lewd computer chats with an undercover officer posing as a 13-year-old girl.
Jerome M. Patience, 39, who lives in Independence, Mo. was charged in Platte County Circuit Court last week after allegedly chatting with the “girl” for nearly a month in 2016. The Western Missouri Cyber Crime Task Force with the assistance of the Department of Homeland Security completed the investigation.
According to court documents, Patience allegedly began chatting with an undercover officer who was posing as a 13-year-old girl on the internet in May of 2016. The two allegedly chatted until June 22, 2016 during which time Patience or the “girl” mentioned her age nine times.
During the chats, Patience allegedly spoke of sex with her and showed interest in meeting. However, he allegedly said he was afraid to meet her because it was illegal, saying he would lose his job and his family.
Patience also allegedly wrote that he did not know where they could meet “that I can trust that it doesn’t get me arrested,” according to court documents.
Investigators ultimately identified the Liberty law office where Patience was conducting his chats. He allegedly told the “girl” that he only chatted while at work and not during the evening or weekends.
On August 25, 2016, investigators served a search warrant at the law firm. Patience’s computer was allegedly open to the Yahoo account from which he had conducted the chats with the undercover officer.
Platte County prosecuting attorney Eric Zahnd said that the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri reviewed the case for several months, ultimately deferring to Platte County to prosecute the case. Patience is charged with felony attempted sexual exploitation of a minor for communicating with a person he believed to be less than 14 years old and urging her to “take pics” while performing a sexual act. He is also charged with two felony counts of attempted sexual misconduct involving a child: one for sending a picture of his genitals and another for asking the “girl” to send explicit photos of herself.
Finally, Patience faces a misdemeanor charge of attempting to furnish pornographic materials to minors for sending the picture of his genitals as well as written descriptions of sex acts to the “girl.”
Patience is now out of custody on a $30,000 surety bond, despite the state’s objections, on the conditions of having no contact with anyone under the age of 18 (immediate family members excluded) and no use of an internet capable device.