STATESVILLE, N.C. -- The former principal of Mount Mourne Elementary took the stand Tuesday morning. He testified in the case of a former 4th grade teacher who s accused of sexually abusing some of his students. Thirteen alleged victims have now testified, along with two of their mothers, saying John Patterson inappropriately touched them or made lewd comments to them.

Some of the men say as boys Patterson would put their hands on his private area, as well.

James Meadows was the principal in 1987, whenever the first allegations against Patterson were reported. He told the jury about a phone call he got from a mother, concerned about something her son had said one day on his way home from school.

He asked his grandmother if he could get AIDS, Meadows said. She asked what he meant and he asked if he could get AIDS through his clothes.

Meadows met with the mother and son and says the boy told him that Patterson had touched his private area in class. The boy was a student in Patterson s 4th grade class that year.

After the meeting, Meadows says the Board of Education met with Patterson to confront him, and while he never admitted to anything, he also never denied the allegations.

I was hoping he'd look at them and say this didn't happen, Meadows said. It really disappointed me, because I was worried about him.

Meadows says Patterson resigned, but Alvera Lesane, who currently works for Iredell-Statesville Schools, told the court that records of that meeting and the incident itself were difficult to find.

There was very limited information, but we were able to locate where an item was discussed, but no further detail was available, Lesane said.

The jury also heard from a sheriff's office investigator Tuesday afternoon and watched a recorded video of the alleged victim from '87 being interviewed. Meadows told the jury that at the time
of his resignation, the public sided with Patterson, not the boy's family or school's leaders.

Hearsay was out there that I had thrown Mr. Patterson to the wolves, Meadows said.

The mother of the boy in 1987 told the jury what Principal Meadows had said to her after she and her son shared their story of Patterson s inappropriate touching.

What a child perceives is very real to them, the mother said.

Day 5 of testimony will continue at the Iredell County courthouse Wednesday morning.

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