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Former PE teacher pleads guilty to child sex charges

Posted August 11, 2011
Updated November 9, 2011

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— A former PE teacher at Yates Mill Elementary School in Raleigh was sentenced to 11 to 17 years in prison Thursday after he pleaded guilty to four counts of indecent liberties with a minor and five counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor.

John Peter Skatrud, 42, was arrested in June 2010 after accusations that he acted inappropriately with two 8-year-old girls. Had he not pleaded guilty, he could have faced up to more than 47 years in prison on the charges.

Skatrud, who also coached volleyball at North Carolina State University and for the Capital City Volleyball Club, must also register as a convicted sex offender upon his release and be put on satellite monitoring.

Wake County Assistant District Attorney Melanie Shekita said the victims said Skatrud would ask them to pull up their shirts and would take photos of their bare chests. On other occasions, he would have them on their hands and knees in the gym and take photos down their shirts.

One girl also described how Skatrud put his hand down her pants, Shekita said.

Investigators also found more than 1,000 images of child pornography on a computer taken from Skatrud's home.

"The school had really come to love this defendant," Shekita said, adding that Skatrud had gotten very close to the victims' families and that he often drove the girls home from school.

"It was easy for him to garner the trust of young children," she said.

Defense attorney Hart Miles said his client confessed to the crimes, because he "didn't want to put the children through anymore."

Skatrud has undergone substance abuse treatment since his arrest, Miles added, and his wife and two sons have since left him.

"I guess that's collateral damage in this case," Miles said.

Shekita said the case should be a cautionary tale for parents.

"You trust school officials, and you trust all of the educators that come in contact with your children to protect them," she said.

"It's good for parents to have conversations with their children if something doesn't feel right," she added. "That's exactly what happened in this case, and I fully believe that prevented more sex abuse from happening or anything else happening at the school."

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  • dawgitall Aug 12, 2011

    Simple rules I was taught when I began teaching many years ago: keep your classroom door open; avoid being alone with a student period; avoid touching a child if possible (high five & handshake okay / pat on back & grab arm to restrain not okay); never put a child in your car to take home (sometimes unavoidable but do everything you can not to); anything you say can be misinterpreted by a child or parent so sometimes you have to qualify what you say; alway keep your relationship with students as a teacher/student one. You are not social equals, you are an adult they are a child, keep it that way; never go to a students house or invite them into yours; a more recent rule to add is never to accept a student or former student as your facebook friend ( until they have at least graduated from college); and finally go through the parents when dealing with students, don't assume you can tell a child (even a high schooler) something (or send a note home) and it will be communicated correctly

  • WritNEWlaws Aug 12, 2011

    @City Boy- Unfortunately, this is our Justice System that will always make a deal during any type of violation and the victim is the one to suffer.

  • City Boy Aug 12, 2011

    And the next time a GOOD,DECENT AND HONORABLE Teacher wants to reach out to help a child in need He/She will balk. The effects of this reaches every aspect of life with an everlasting result. Makes my blood boil. there has to be a better way than making deals with these predators... I wish I had the answer.

  • City Boy Aug 12, 2011

    Defense attorney Hart Miles said his client confessed to the crimes, because he "didn't want to put the children through anymore."

    What a sport!!! Some of these Defense attorneys amaze me. Big difference between 17yrs and almost 50yrs. adding insult to injury, the absolute nerve to make a statement like that. The enormous damage done to these children and their families is immeasurable, not to mention what this man has done to his own family. Their lives are forever altered but his client did not want cause anymore damage to the children...JUST UNBELIEVABLE!!!!

  • City Boy Aug 12, 2011

    Defense attorney Hart Miles said his client confessed to the crimes, because he "didn't want to put the children through anymore."

  • WritNEWlaws Aug 12, 2011

    All I can say is to make sure to ask your children questions about their day at school and teacher. I just found out that my daughter's teacher (who is male) would carry students in his arms. I had to gently ask further questions to figure out if she had been one of those students. I could tell that she did not want to talk too much about it but she said that the children were misbehaving. I really have not heard of a teacher physically picking up and carrying around the classroom for misbehaving. I believe that more stories will surface from teachers that are carrying out abuse on children due to their own upbringing and not dealing with what happened in their own past. This is a huge growing epedimic that is transpiring daily!

  • lisa4 Aug 12, 2011

    What amazes me is the justice system. If he had pleaded guilty he could have faced up to more than 47 years but since he pleaded guilty he only gets 11-17 years in prison??????????????? Something is wrong with t his picture. He will not even serve that amount of time. What a shame....people prey on children and my personal opinion is they get out of trouble to easy!!!! GOD BLESS OUR PRECIOUS LITTLE ONES.

  • TeenDAD Aug 12, 2011

    People can no longer TRUST anyone...and you have better teach your children to trust NO ONE also...
    dollibug
    August 11, 2011 6:23 p.m.

    Ahh, well thought out.

  • piratefan90 Aug 11, 2011

    not all teachers that give kids rides are predators. Some do it because they know that the student would not get opportunities to participate in afterschool activities because the parent can't or won't be able to pick up the child. Sometimes teachers give a kid a ride simply because we are responsible for the student and we are sick and tired of waiting for the parent to come...it's after 7 pm and we would like to go home ourselves! For every creepy pedophile teacher there are a couple of hundred nice normal adults that teach. Don't condemn all teachers for the actions of a few sick individuals.

  • akatonitots Aug 11, 2011

    Some of yall are extremely paranoid. Move out to the woods and teach your kids to live off the land and homeschool them because you are overly paranoid and are suspicious of everyone.

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