February 20, 2014 | Vol. 40, No. 8

FBI verifies non-pornographic images of local children in Petersen case

Investigators discovered images of Petersburg children in connection with the pending criminal case against Tye Leif Petersen, former Petersburg School District maintenance director, who was arrested last fall for multiple charges related to possession and distribution of child pornography.

Petersburg Police Chief Kelly Swihart said he couldn’t comment on the matter but said investigators have not found any pornographic images of local children.

In written release, FBI Special Agent Matthew Judy states, “The FBI has not discovered any child pornography that was manufactured, nor identified any children who are depicted in child pornography from Petersburg. Non-pornographic images of Petersburg residents have been identified during the course of the investigation. Those in Petersburg, who are directly affected, have been contacted by agents and officers of the FBI and the Petersburg Police Department.”

Petersburg parents Tasha and Joe Prus said Judy visited their home Mon., Feb. 17 and showed them several photos of their two daughters, Asia Prus, 20 and Josie Prus, 16.

Two of the photos were of Josie Prus and a group of friends swimming near the bridge at Blind Slough last summer. Two more images were self-portraits Asia Prus had taken sometime between 2011 and 2012, Tasha Prus said.

Tasha Prus said Judy couldn’t tell her or her husband how Petersen obtained the images of their daughters.

Tasha Prus said the agent informed her that the images of Asia Prus and Josie Prus were found on a Russian website, along with photos of other girls from the community.

Joe Prus said the FBI agent was verifying photos with other families but none of the images are considered pornographic by law. The agent didn’t reveal when or how many images of other children had been found or how Petersen obtained them.

Petersen has plead not-guilty to three charges associated with child pornography and his trial is scheduled for Sept.15, however his attorney said in a recent court proceeding there is a good possibility that the case will resolve prior to trial.

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