Petersburg school district staffer arrested for possessing child porn

The former maintenance director of the Petersburg School District has been charged with distribution and possession of child pornography.

45-year-old Tye Leif Petersen resigned from the school district as he left town on Tuesday. Petersen was arrested in Juneau and faces federal charges of distribution of child pornography, receipt of child pornography, and possession of pornography involving a child under 12 years old.

In a criminal complaint filed on Tuesday, agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation allege that Petersen exchanged sexually graphic photos and video via email between April and July of this year, with another trafficker of child pornography, named in the complaint only as Tennessee John Doe. The criminal complaint says “Most of the emails contained video or picture attachments depicting child pornography of very young children being sexually molested.”

Agents executed a federal search warrant at his home on Friday and say they found child pornography on ten CDs there. The FBI also said that Petersen admitted to receiving the pornography and provided agents with access to three email accounts.

The FBI and local law enforcement searched Petersburg’s school buildings and the school computer network on Saturday morning.

Petersburg’s school superintendent said the district cooperated fully and there’s no evidence that any local children were involved. In a letter sent home to parents on Tuesday, Superintendent Rob Thomason wrote that “no downloading of photographs or other inappropriate material took place on site, during work hours, or using district computer equipment.”

Petersen appeared in U.S. District Court in Juneau on Wednesday, but he did not enter a plea. He was ordered held in custody through a potential trial.

A public defender will be appointed to represent Petersen.

A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for November 18th.