Former elementary teacher on trial for sex abuse charges

by: Mark Becker Updated:

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STATESVILLE - John, or as friends know him, Tom Patterson, would have his chance to make his case to the jury, but not before the prosecutor would wrap up the state’s case against him, where he’s accused of molesting students while he was teaching at an elementary school in Mooresville during the 1970s and 80s.

Detective Sgt. Amy Dyson had led the investigation that started with Patterson’s arrest in February 2013, and she described in detail what the alleged victims had told her.

“He said Tom Patterson admitted to touching the child on the upper leg and tried to play it off like it was horseplay,” Dyson said about one of the victims.

She described another alleged encounter between Patterson and a boy in the classroom.

“Eventually he (Patterson) would pull his zipper up and down, kind of playing with it and then put his hands inside of his pants and played with his p----,” she said.

The jury also heard from the alleged victims themselves, each describing the encounters with Patterson while he was a teacher and they were students at Mt. Mourne Elementary School.

Some of those victims, now adults, were in the courtroom listening intently as Patterson took the stand late Wednesday afternoon.

His attorney walked Patterson through each of the alleged assaults, and each time, Patterson denied them.

“Did you ever put your hand in his pants?” Patterson’s attorney asked.

“Never,” Patterson replied.

“Did you ever touch ----- inappropriately in any other manner?”

“No,” Patterson answered.

One of his alleged victims shook his head as he listened to Patterson’s denials.

The prosecutor began her cross examination late Wednesday, asking Patterson about some of those encounters before the judge adjourned court.  Patterson will be on the stand when the trial resumes Thursday morning.