The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Top News

February 18, 2013

Clinton judge orders deferred judgement in underage sex case

CLINTON — Judge Mark Smith granted a deferred judgement request from a 33-year-old man who pleaded guilty to having sex with a 14-year-old he met online.

Jason Petersen’s defense attorney Les Blair told the court Thursday that when his client first met the 14-year-old victim online, he believed her to be 19. Petersen said he was told she was 19 and then later learned she was 14. Even after learning her true age, Petersen had a relationship with her through the end of November 2011.

“That is not an excuse, but it is an explanation,” Blair said.

Third-degree sex abuse is a Class C felony that carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years. County Attorney Mike Wolf recommended a suspended sentence, rather than a deferred judgement. He said he had a hard time getting over the age difference. However, Blair felt that a deferred judgment was more appropriate.

“My client does not have a significant history. He does not have a history of this type of offense,” Blair said. He added that his client is not attracted to children.

Petersen expressed sorrow at what he had done. He said he was sorry if he caused the victim psychological damage.

Smith granted a three-year deferred judgment, with the stipulation that Petersen completes the sex abuse program and refrains from going on any social websites during his probation. Petersen must also complete a substance abuse evaluation and treatment. A $1,000 civil penalty was suspended. Petersen was ordered to pay court costs and attorney fees, but may complete community service instead.

1
Text Only
Top News
  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 18, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 18, 2014

  • AGENDA: 4-22-14 Clinton City Council

    The Clinton City Council will meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. followed by a committee of the whole.

    April 18, 2014

  • Judge asks pointed questions in gay marriage case

    A judge in Colorado who will play a pivotal role deciding whether gays should be allowed to wed in the United States asked pointed questions Thursday about whether Oklahoma can legally ban the unions.

    U.S. Circuit Judge Jerome Holmes is seen as the swing vote on the three-judge panel that heard the Oklahoma appeal and a similar case from Utah last week.

    April 18, 2014

  • NASA's moon-orbiting robot crashes down as planned

    April 18, 2014

  • Eyewitness testimony no longer a gold standard

    The American legal system offers few moments as dramatic as an eyewitness to a crime pointing his finger across a crowded courtroom at a defendant.

    The problem is that decades of studies show eyewitness testimony is only right about half the time — a reality that has prompted a small vanguard of police chiefs, courts and lawmakers to toughen laws governing the handling of eyewitnesses and their accounts of crimes.

    April 18, 2014

  • Blagojevich campaign account donates final dollars

    A federal campaign account for imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is now empty, two years into the Chicago Democrat's prison term.

    The (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald reports Friends of Rod Blagojevich donated $709.85 to a Serbian Orthodox Church monastery earlier this month.

    April 18, 2014

  • GOP lawmaker objects to 9-0 vote for Obama library

    A Republican lawmaker is protesting after an Illinois House committee recorded a 9-0 vote to commit $100 million for President Barack Obama's library and museum, even though the committee's four GOP members weren't there.

    Rep. Ed Sullivan of Mundelein says he didn't expect a vote during Thursday's hearing. He told WBEZ radio and the (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald he would've voted no.

    Sullivan says "the legacy of the Obama presidential library shouldn't be kicked off in a cloud of controversy."

    April 18, 2014

  • Prosecutor says 6 felon voting cases will proceed

    A prosecutor pursuing several cases against felons charged with voting illegally says an Iowa Supreme Court ruling shouldn't impact them.Assistant Black Hawk County Attorney Linda Fangman said Thursday the prosecutions will "proceed as is," despite Tuesday's ruling suggesting that not all felons lose their voting rights. She's handling felony election misconduct cases against six offenders accused of voting in the 2012 election even though they lost their rights. A seventh may plead guilty Monday.

    April 18, 2014

  • Iowa's unemployment rate climbs to 4.5 percent

    Iowa's unemployment rate climbed to 4.5 percent in March as more people entered the labor force.

    Iowa Workforce Development announced Friday the rate was up from 4.4 percent in February. It compared to a 4.8 percent unemployment rate in March 2013.

    April 18, 2014

AP Video