Raleigh man accused of child molestation could face deportation

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Peter McGettigan (WTVD)

A Scotsman and long-time Raleigh resident told a judge Thursday afternoon that he will likely lose his engineering job after being charged with molesting two young girls. Due to the charges he's facing, he could also be deported.

The prosecutor told the judge the accused, Peter McGettigan, has confessed to the crimes.

Court documents reveal there were two victims, and that the indecent liberties started in 2015 and continued through April 2016.

Those close to McGettigan said they know him as a gracious neighbor and friend, and they can't believe the charges he's facing. But, in court on Thursday, the prosecutor said McGettigan, 59, had a big secret.

In fact, the prosecutor said that's what the two young girls, ages 7 and 10, were heard talking about in school - a big secret.

After the girls' conversation was reported to police, authorities said McGettigan confessed to his wife and to investigators. McGettigan told the judge that his house in northwest Raleigh had recently been sold and he and his disabled wife were moving. He said now there will be no one to take care of her.

He also predicted he would lose his engineering job for a local technology firm because of the charges. One neighbor, whom he helped when she was widowed, was nearly in tears when she heard about the charges.

"I can't believe it. I just can't believe it," said neighbor Jan Barwick. "He's such a wonderful man."

She continued expressing her disbelief to ABC11, saying it's hard to learn what some people are capable of doing.

"You don't ever want to hear anything like this, about anyone, especially involving little children," Barwick lamented.

McGettigan faces up to 20 years in the four molestation charges. But, he is also facing a more serious charge of sex offense with a child. That charge carries a maximum sentence of life without parole, and a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years.

If McGettigan survives any sentence, he could be sent back to his native Scotland, because he is not a U.S. citizen and there is an immigration detainer in his file.

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