Roberts Law Group, PLLC
North Carolina Criminal Defense Attorneys

On March 13, the North Carolina Supreme Court announced that courts throughout the state would close for at least 30 days, in an effort to protect public safety amid the Covid-19 outbreak. Roberts Law Group will remain open during this time. We are available to meet with new and existing clients in-person or on the phone. Please call our law office to schedule a time to meet.

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Former Santa Claus Sentenced For Internet Sex Crimes

A man who dressed as Santa and played the friendly Christmas icon at malls across North Carolina was sentenced on sexual exploitation and solicitation charges. Seventy-year-old John Peters, of Cary, was sentenced to three years in prison and must register as a sex offender after completing his sentence.

Peters was arrested twice on sex offense charges - once in January and again in March. He had either met up with a teen or had planned to meet up with a teen that he engaged with via Facebook. Peters was allegedly telling teens that he was a photographer looking for models in order to encourage them to meet with him.

In North Carolina, a person can be found guilty of solicitation of a minor via the internet if:

  • The minor is under 16 years old
  • The alleged offender is 16 years old or older
  • The alleged offender is at least five years older than the child being solicited
  • The minor is encouraged to meet the alleged offender to commit a sex act

The consent of the child is not a defense to internet crimes involving child solicitation. Soliciting a minor over the internet is a Class H felony. If the alleged offender actually shows up at the meeting spot, the crime is increased to a Class G felony.

Minimum punishments for North Carolina felony sex offenses depend on the actual conviction and any prior history of the offender. A Class H felony is typically punished by five to six months in prison while a Class G felony usually means 10-13 months in prison. Multiple counts can mean multiple consecutive or concurrent sentences.

Source: WECT, "NC Santa man sentenced on solicitation charges," September 30, 2012


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