MOORESVILLE, N.C. -- A former teacher at a Mooresville elementary school is accused of sex charges involving students at that school back in the 1980's.
John Thomas Patterson, 65, of Mooresville faces 14 counts of taking indecent liberties with children who were students at Mount Mourne Elementary School.
The investigation started when one person contacted the Iredell County Sheriff's Office.
Since then, five potential victims have been identified and investigators said they are hearing of other potential victims as they look into Patterson's past.
"If it is true it is tragic. If it is not true it is still tragic," said Jason Matthews, who lives across the street from Patterson on East Stewart Street.
At Patterson's house Monday night, it was dark and there was no answer at the door. But word of the arrest had spread quickly.
"It's kind of a shock because I have a six-year-old son and you never know who is living next door," said Matthews.
Other residents said Patterson seemed like the best kind of neighbor and said they had not seen him since his arrest last Friday.
"Like I said, I am shocked to hear the charges. We've lived here 13 years and he has been here 13 years and we can't believe it," said neighbor Chris Bonaventure.
Investigators said some of the assaults on the children happened in classrooms at the school.
The school district said it is cooperating with the Sheriff's Office and tracking down records from Patterson's time at the school where he spent 17 years.
He resigned in 1987.
Parents said Patterson's arrest is a reminder.
"I'm still going to be careful and keep a watchful eye on everybody because you just never know," said Matthews.