Lac Du Flambeau Band man sentenced for abusing young girls

A view of Petoskey, Michigan. Photo by Bobak Ha'Eri via Wikipedia

A member of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in Wisconsin has been sentenced to seven years in federal prison for sexually abusing young girls.

Edward Joseph Peterson, 61, was charged with seven counts of abusive sexual contact with four different children under the age of 12, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a press release. All of the incidents occurred on the reservation of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in Michigan.

Peterson only pleaded guilty to one count of abusive sexual contact. But he will end up serving 11 years because his federal punishment will run after he completes a four-year sentence in Wisconsin court for abusing another young girl.

"I applaud the children in this case for having the bravery to report what happened to them rather than suffering in silence," U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles said. "The fact that all the children described the same type of abuse over time shows a disturbing pattern of pedophilia and conveys the danger that Peterson presents to communities everywhere."

All of the victims in the federal case were members of the Little Traverse Bay Bands. Chairwoman Regina Gasco Bentley and chief law enforcement officer Jeff Cobe attended the sentencing hearing today.

"Fortunately, we do not have a large number of criminal cases arising from our tribe, but when a crime like this occurs, we are glad to see tribal and federal law enforcement working together for justice and are committed to providing whatever services the victims might need as they heal," Bentley and Cobe said in the press release.

In addition to the prison term, Peterson must serve 10 years of supervised release and he must register as a sex offender. He abused the girls on tribal land near Petoskey, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Get the Story:
Wisconsin Man Sentenced For Sexually Abusing Northern Michigan Girls (9 and 10 News 6/30)
Man accused of committing child sex crimes on tribal land found guilty (Up North Live 6/30)

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