A man who worked for the Petersburg school district for over a decade has entered a plea agreement on charges of child pornography possession and distribution.
45-year-old Tye Leif Peterson agreed to plead guilty to three counts of possession, distribution, and receipt of child pornography between 2007 and 2013. Petersen was indicted in November 2013, and originally entered a plea of not guilty.
The case against Petersen began in July 2013, when FBI in Tennessee initiated an investigation into a Yahoo! email account listed in court documents as belonging to an individual known only as “Tennessee Joe1”. The account was used to send and receive child pornography to multiple emails, including an email used by Petersen. Working alongside the Petersburg Police Department, Alaskan FBI agents obtained a search warrant for the email and Petersen’s home, at which point Petersen identified 3 other email accounts he used to distribute and receive similar content.
Peterson was arrested in October 2013 while boarding a flight to Juneau in what prosecutors believe was an attempt to escape charges.
As part of the plea deal, Petersen will plead guilty to all three counts of possession, distribution, and receipt of child pornography in exchange for immunity from further prosecution in this case. Petersen still awaits sentencing, where he faces 5 to20 years in prison, and a fine of up to $250,000.
Petersen worked for the PSD from 2002 until just before his arrest in October 2013. FBI and PPD say no local children have been found among more than 1,600 images and videos found in Petersen’s possession.