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Lake Norman Charter teacher’s assistant charged with sex crimes at Johnson C. Smith

A woman went to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police in December 2017 and reported that she was sexually assaulted at JCSU 20 years ago, in the summer of 1997 when she was 14, according to a police report.
A woman went to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police in December 2017 and reported that she was sexually assaulted at JCSU 20 years ago, in the summer of 1997 when she was 14, according to a police report.

A teacher’s assistant at Lake Norman Charter resigned Monday morning – and then turned himself in on sex offense charges against a 14-year-old girl in the 1990s at Johnson C. Smith University.

Michael James Peterson, 59, has been charged with four counts of sex offense or statutory rape of a child and four counts of indecent liberties with a child, according to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office website.

michaelpeterson
Michael Peterson, 59, turned himself in Monday. He has been charged with multiple counts of sex offense with a child and indecent liberties with a child. Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office

The girl, now an adult, went to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police in December 2017 and reported that she was sexually assaulted at JCSU 20 years ago, in the summer of 1997, according to a police report.

Peterson worked for Lake Norman Charter for about three years and mostly provided classroom support to students with disabilities in middle and high school, the school said in an email to parents about his resignation.

“Although this current charge has nothing to do with our school or any of our students we felt that we needed to make our parent community aware,” the email said.

CMPD confirmed the existence of arrest warrants for Peterson in connection with the JSCU case on Friday. Lake Norman Charter learned about the investigation Monday, after Peterson resigned, superintendent Shannon Stein said.

Stein refused to discuss whether Lake Norman Charter will investigate Peterson’s contact with students given the news of these charges, saying it’s a personnel matter.

Jane Wester: 704-358-5128, @janewester

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