BREAKING NEWS: Former Florence City Manager Mike Patterson sentenced – Canon City Daily Record

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Former Florence City Manager Mike Patterson was sentenced Thursday in Fremont County District Court.
Patterson plead guilty to Count 4, providing alcohol to a minor, a class 1 misdemeanor, and Count 5, harassment- strike/shove/kick, a class 3 misdemeanor, during an October pre-trial conference. Originally, Patterson entered not guilty pleas in August and a trial was set for Dec. 5-7 but was vacated as part of a plea deal.
Judge Lynette Wenner sentenced Patterson to two years of supervised probation during which time he must comply with all standard conditions of probation, continue to attend mental health treatment and counseling until discharged by treatment provider and probation officer, complete letters of apology to all victims of record with approval of the victims’ service officer, complete cognitive behavioral treatment program, pay the assessment of a $45 substance abuse screening fee, and be subject to electronic home monitoring at the discretion of the supervising probation officer.
One victim of Patterson’s mistreatment agreed to make a statement, which was read by prosecuting attorney, Nicole D’Arrigo.
The victim was hired by Patterson in May 2021 as the court clerk but was assigned the role of city planning technician on her first day of work.
“Within my first week, I found myself in a situation I was not prepared for, subject to completely unprofessional and inappropriate text messages from not only the man that hired me but the man in charge altogether,” D’Arrigo read.
The alleged victim’s statement devolved into her losing hair, upset stomach, nausea, and hives as a result of her heightened anxiety because of Patterson’s behavior.
The woman relocated to another area of the state altogether to escape the situation. She filed numerous reports to agencies, both inside and outside of Florence, to fight the injustice perpetuated from within the city.
“It was not only Mr. Patterson’s unprofessional, unethical, sexually inappropriate behavior toward women that had a devastating effect on my overall well-being but also the position he abused and influence he held over an entire community and our local government that prevented me and countless others from getting the help we needed and deserved,” D’Arrigo read.
The victim asked the judge to impose a “firm” sentence in the form of supervised treatment.
Patterson gave a brief statement before sentencing.
“I just want to apologize for my conduct,” Patterson said. “I have definitely learned a great deal from it, and I will never put myself or anyone else in this position again.”
After dispersing her sentence, Judge Wenner addressed Patterson directly.
“I’m sure you’re aware but you may not understand the harm you caused to these victims. The fact that they had to tolerate the behavior in order to be employed is awful,” she said. “Hopefully, this whole system will be changed for the better but that also requires you in your own person to make those changes and understand the harm that you caused so it doesn’t happen again around you.”
The case stems from an August 2021 incident after which Patterson was abruptly dismissed by the Florence City Council.
Patterson, 55, was arrested in November 2021 on two counts of stalking-emotional distress, a Class 5 felony; sexual contact-no consent, a Class 1 misdemeanor; and providing alcohol to a minor, also a Class 1 misdemeanor.
The police investigation after Patterson’s termination revealed a string of sexual harassment allegations by former city employees and other women who have had interaction with him at Florence City Hall.
According to an affidavit for an arrest warrant penned by Florence Police detective Jeff Worley, he discovered that Patterson’s dismissal by the council stemmed from an allegation that he had sent a subordinate city employee a sexually inappropriate text message.
Worley said during the investigation, numerous witnesses – primarily women – were interviewed, many of whom either reported similar experiences of having received inappropriate communications from Patterson or who could corroborate what others reported.
The affidavit states that Patterson frequently made inappropriate comments to women in the office even after city personnel had attended sexual harassment training. He also is accused of providing bottles of wine to a subordinate who was not yet 21.
Many of the women interviewed said they were scared of losing their jobs if they made Patterson angry.
During his investigation, Worley learned that a former employee had successfully sued the city regarding a sexual harassment complaint that involved Patterson.
Additionally, Patterson has also been involved in two lawsuits both against him and the city of Florence. The first was settled on July 6 for $250,000 and the second was settled Aug. 14 for $140,000. The city was responsible for $10,000 in deductibles in each case.
On July 13, an amended complaint was filed by Deputy District Attorney Nicole Triola, charging Patterson with two new counts of harassment, each a Class 3 misdemeanor.
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