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NEW ALBANY — A New Albany man is facing a felony charge after police say he solicited sex from a girl under 14 in November.

Keaunte Copez Brown-Patterson, 23, is charged with a level 5 felony for child solicitation. He appeared for an initial hearing Wednesday in Floyd County Circuit Court.

Court records show police were notified Nov. 24 after one of the victim's parents had awoken at 2:30 a.m. to find their daughter not at home. After trying to call her, the parents found the girl a short time later outside with an adult male walking several feet behind her.

When asked who he was and why he was with the girl, the man, later identified as Brown-Patterson, denied knowing her and quickly left the area.

The parents allowed police to look through the victim's phone, where they found communication between the child and the suspect — one officer reported "seeing suspicious messages between them concerning marijuana, tobacco products and inappropriate pictures," court records show.

In one message, he had asked the victim to hang out and bring her friend, who is the same age as her. During a forensic interview. the victim told police the two girls had sneaked out around 12:30 a.m. Nov. 24 to meet Brown-Patterson, and that the three had first gone to Walmart then a gas station where he bought them black and mild cigars.

She said he had said "weird things" including asking them to have sex with him and had previously asked multiple times for provocative photos.

Surveillance footage shows three people at Walmart matching their descriptions at a time corroborating the victim's statements.

When interviewed by investigators, Brown-Patterson admitted to meeting with the two girls that morning and buying them tobacco; he said he had solicited sex from the girl but told police he was joking.

Aprile Rickert is the crime and courts reporter at the News and Tribune. Contact her via email at aprile.rickert@newsandtribune.com or by phone at 812-206-2115. Follow her on Twitter: @Aperoll27.

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