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Petersen sentenced to 12 years on child pornography charges


On Jan. 7, former Petersburg School District Maintenance Director Tye Petersen was sentenced to 12 years in jail, followed by 25 years of supervised release for Distribution, Receipt and Possession of Child Pornography.

U.S. District Judge Timothy M. Burgess presided over the sentencing hearing in the U.S. District Court in Anchorage where Petersen has been in custody of the U.S. Marshal Service since his arrest in October 2013.

Petersen, 46, was arrested after federal investigators and local police conducted a search warrant of his home and electronic devices. According to sentencing documents, Petersen possessed and traded over 2,000 images and 39 videos of child pornography.

Though he acknowledged that Petersen did not have a prior criminal record, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Schmidt said in his sentencing recommendation that the court must taken into account Petersen’s long-time involvement in the crime in question.

“Petersen has been receiving and possessing child pornography for some time, as indicated by the distribution date on one of the images from November 2007,” according to Schmidt’s sentencing recommendation.

The U.S. Attorney’s office recommended a 15 year sentence followed by 15 years of supervised released based on the quantity of images in Petersen’s possession, the fact that Petersen distributed the images and the age of children depicted in the material who were described as “prepubescent minors.”

In their sentencing recommendations to the court, the prosecuting attorneys also mentioned photos taken at Petersburg schools. “He had taken photos of random children at school in the past three to four years, where he worked as a director of building maintenance…A total of 27 victims were identified, which were photographed by Petersen and at least eight were the result of photographs taken from a hole in the wall leading to a gym used by visiting school sports teams in various stages of undress.”

Assistant Federal Defender Cara McNamara, representing Petersen, emphasized in her sentencing memorandum that Petersen had no prior criminal history and that he is rehabilitated. McNamara highlighted Petersen’s compliance with police during their investigation and subsequent openness and honesty in answering questions.

“Mr. Petersen has demonstrated from the very beginning of this case that he is ready to begin the process of rehabilitation…[his] willingness to accept responsibility for this crime and to provide detailed information to law enforcement weighs in favor of the requested sentence, because it shows his amenability to reform and discounts his future dangerousness,” according to McNamara’s memo to the court.

In a letter to the court submitted on Jan. 6, one day before the sentencing hearing, Petersen said, “I take full responsibility for my crimes and I am deeply sorry for all the problems I have created for my family and everyone involved. I failed to fully understand how my actions would affect those around me.”

He added that he will seek professional help in an effort to be rehabilitated and be a contributing member of society upon his release.

In addition to jail time and supervised release, Petersen was sentenced to pay $3,000 each in restitution to two victims.


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