By now, the storyline is all too familiar: A longstanding celebrity falls from grace after allegations of sexual misconduct come to light. The latest alleged predator may never have been an angel in the public eye, but the scope and extent of the allegations have still proven shocking, drawing public ire and backlash around the globe.
After a perfect season at the helm of the Green Hope women's soccer team that culminated in a state championship, former coach Robert Peterson is facing another battle, this time criminal. He was charged with third degree sexual exploitation of a minor after being caught in an internet sex crimes sting run by local law enforcement.
An arrest for online solicitation of a minor awaited a 37-year-old Charlotte man at his destination, rather than the 14-year-old girl that police accuse him of expecting. An online sex crimes sting involving a detective casting him or herself as a minor trapped Edward Patella and landed him in the Randolph County jail.
The FBI Child Exploitation Task Force and the Newton Police Department worked together to arrest two Newton men accused of possessing child pornography downloaded from the Internet. One man faces three counts of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor while the other faces only two for what is assumed to be explicit digital images of minors.
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.
An 18-year-old high school senior served a year in jail for having sex with his 14-year-old girlfriend. The young couple lived in Michigan, where the age of consent is 16. The senior, Ken Thornsberry, was convicted of statutory rape despite the sex act(s) being consensual between the two teens.