Former teacher sentenced to life in sex abuse case

Former teacher sentenced to life in sex abuse case

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by DAN YESENOSKY / NBC Charlotte

WCNC.com

Posted on July 11, 2014 at 3:58 PM

Updated Friday, Jul 11 at 8:13 PM

STATESVILLE, N.C. -- An Iredell County jury has found John Patterson guilty of molesting some of his students when he was a 4th grade teacher in the 1970s and 1980s.  The trial wrapped up just before 4 o'clock Friday afternoon. Out of all 173 counts against him, Patterson was found guilty of every single one of them.

Patterson stood shaky on his feet while he was sentenced for each count against him, as the reality of his convictions started to kick in, and the handcuffs were thrown on his wrists. He faces a life sentence for first-degree sex offense, and a 260 year sentence for all of the indecent liberties with a child counts. NBC Charlotte spoke with one of the victims, keeping his identity private, about the moment when the decision came to light.

"That was all 10-year-old kids giving handshakes and hugs," he said. "It wasn't 30 and 40-something year old men.  That's what it was all about, so those were the kids, that have now spoken, 30 years later and have gotten justice."

Prosecutor Crystal Beale talked about the long wait, while the jury deliberated for close to six hours.  

"Felt like the evidence was strong throughout from beginning to end, and I felt like eventually they would come to the right decision, which they did," Beale said. 

As for Patterson, defense attorney Will Willis gave us an inside look as to what the former teacher is feeling right now. 

"He's stunned.  I don't think he ever expected that a jury wouldn't find him not guilty," Willis said. 

The victim told us he's put the past behind him, but seeing Patterson again did bring back some very old and dark memories. 

"He was someone that had a lot of people fooled.  So his demeanor and his actions, hasn't changed in 30 years."

Willis tells us Patterson will appeal the convictions against him. In total there were 14 victims that came forward and testified in the case.  

Patterson taught at Mount Mourne Elementary School for 17 years before he resigned in 1987. 

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