NC court upholds teacher’s molestation convictions

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina Court of Appeals has upheld last year’s conviction of a former school teacher for molesting students repeatedly in the 1970s and 1980s.

The three-judge panel on Tuesday found no error in the trial of John Thomas Patterson of Mooresville. Patterson, who once worked at the former Mount Mourne Elementary School in Iredell County, is now serving life in prison.

Patterson had been a fourth-grade teacher at the school and resigned in the mid-1980s after the molestation accusations surfaced. Charges weren’t filed until former students came forward at least 15 years later. About a dozen former students, now adults, ultimately testified at the trial.

The unanimous opinion rejected Patterson’s appeal challenging both the jury instructions and the trial judge’s refusal to dismiss the charges after evidence was presented.

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