Casper Man Admits to Sexually Abusing Minor
A man accused of having sex with a girl who was 16 years old at the time pleaded guilty to a felony charge Wednesday morning in Natrona County District Court as part of a plea deal.
Brody Orion Peterson, 23, pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree sexual abuse of a minor. Per the plea agreement, the state dismissed one count of sexual exploitation of children and recommended that Peterson be sentenced to three years of supervised probation with a suspended four- to six-year prison sentence.
Judge Catherine Wilking voiced concern about the plea agreement during Peterson's change of plea hearing -- specifically, she questioned the legitimacy of removing any possibility of jail time in such a case.
"I continue to struggle with probation," Wilking said, asking prosecutor Kevin Taheri to explain the reasoning behind the agreement.
"The victims was five months from being seventeen," Taheri replied. He also cited Peterson's lack of criminal history and the age proximity between Peterson and the victim.
Defense attorney Keith Nachbar agreed, saying, "This is an appropriate disposition."
Wilking could still reject the plea agreement if she believes it too lenient after reading the presentence investigation report on Peterson. Should that happen, Peterson would be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea and the case would be set for trial.
Peterson could face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine under state statute.
The plea stems from a report by one of the victim's parents to Casper police at about 11:30 p.m. on June 22, 2015, of sexual assault.
The victim told police she met Peterson through a friend and that on June 21, Peterson sent the victim an instant message and said it was "a bummer" she was so young, according to court documents.
He asked her if they could still hang out, and picked the victim up from her home sometime between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.
The victim told police that Peterson took her to his house, where the two watched a movie. She told police that she told Peterson she didn't want to do "this," but Peterson continued to push her into it, according to court documents.
The victim reportedly described the sexual intercourse as "painful" and "rough," according to the affidavit. She also told Peterson afterward that she was not expecting to have sex with him.