AP NEWS

Former Idaho teacher sentenced to 17 years for lewd conduct

January 9, 2020 GMT

NAMPA, Idaho (AP) — A former teacher in Idaho was sentenced to 17 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct with a child under the age of 16.

Keith Peterson, 71, was arrested in April and charged with lewd conduct and sexual battery of a minor, The Idaho Press reported Wednesday.

The sexual battery charge was dismissed as part of a plea agreement Peterson accepted in October, prosecutors said. Peterson will be eligible for parole after serving seven years in prison, officials said.

The now 17-year-old boy told Nampa Police officers that Peterson inappropriately touched him on multiple occasions for nearly two years starting when he was 15, authorities said.

The minor was not identified by the Idaho Press.

The boy’s mother said in court that she and her husband met Peterson through their church and he evolved into a grandfather-like figure after her own father passed away. Peterson took her son to sporting events, movies, shopping and helped him with his homework, she said.

“I take full responsibility for what I have done. I’m the adult,” Peterson said. “I’m deeply sorry.”

Idaho Press reported in May that police were concerned there were more victims because Peterson taught in the Nampa School District several years ago, and because of his past access to children.

Peterson’s attorney said no additional allegations have been made against his client in nearly 30 years.

Peterson was granted withheld judgement in a 1991 case where he was accused of inappropriate sexual contact with a different person, court officials said. The battery charge was dismissed in 1998 because he completed probation and complied with all terms and provisions, officials said.