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Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is looking into allegations that a Chattanooga police officer sent inappropriate text messages to a minor, officials confirmed Wednesday.

District Attorney Neal Pinkston on Tuesday requested that TBI investigate the allegation of sexual exploitation of a minor against Officer Robin Davenport, spokesman Josh DeVine said.

The police department received a complaint about Davenport on Oct. 9 and launched an internal affairs investigation into him that day, communications coordinator Kyle Millers said.

Davenport, an officer since 2001 who works in the fugitive unit, has been placed on paid administrative leave.

Police declined to release any details about the complaint or the ongoing investigation.

"It's not appropriate for me to comment until the investigation is complete," Chief Fred Fletcher said.

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Officer Robin Davenport

Melydia Clewell, spokeswoman for the Hamilton County District Attorney General's Office, did not explain why Pinkston enlisted the TBI to head the investigation.

"Obviously, you want to make sure that everything is above board," she said. "We're not accusing anyone of not being above board. We just want to look into it."

The charge of sexual exploitation is a felony. A person could be charged with sexual exploitation of a minor for knowingly possessing material that includes a minor engaged in sexual activity or simulated sexual activity that is "patently offensive," according to state law.

Typically, sexual exploitation of a minor is a Class D felony and is punishable with between two and 12 years in prison. In some cases, the charge can become a Class C or B felony, which could result in as many as 30 years in prison.

Davenport is one of several Chattanooga officers to be investigated for inappropriate conduct this year. In March, Fletcher fired two officers for misconduct and another retired before he could be fired.

Flecher dismissed former detective David Catchings after he was charged with drunken driving and domestic assault. The chief fired Karl Fields after a woman accused him of making sexual advances while he was investigating her alleged rape. And a third man, Kevin Kincer, resigned after pills went missing from the evidence room he was supposed to be monitoring.

Davenport could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Staff writer Zack Peterson contributed to this story.

Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at 423-757-6525 or sbradbury@timesfreepress.com with tips or story ideas.

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