Local News

Former PE teacher pleads guilty to child sex charges

Posted August 11, 2011 3:58 p.m. EDT
Updated November 9, 2011 1:16 p.m. EST

— 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."