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January trial set for former Petersburg school maintenance official

The former maintenance director of the Petersburg School District has been arraigned on charges related to the distribution and possession of child pornography.

Tye Leif Petersen, 45, worked for the school district since 2002 and resigned from his job late last month. He tried to leave Petersburg, but the FBI said that he was arrested in Juneau on his way to Seattle.

Petersen faces federal charges of distribution of child pornography, receipt of child pornography, and possession of pornography involving a child under 12 years old.

Peterson pled not guilty to each of those charges in U.S. District Court in Juneau on Monday.

The indictment handed up by a federal grand jury on November 19 alleges that Petersen distributed images of a child engaged in sexual conduct in November 2007. He allegedly received images of children engaged in sexual conduct between April and July of 2013, and possessed images from November 2007 to October 2013.

The original complaint filed by investigators on October 29, 2013 lists the electronic communications that Petersen allegedly had with others outside the state for passing stills and videos of child porn. The complaint also specifies that Petersen allegedly intended to flee Petersburg after he relinquished access to his personal email accounts. While executing a search warrant, investigators also found ten homemade CDs allegedly containing child porn that were located in a storage area under the home.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Schmidt said that, if Petersen is convicted, he faces a maximum of 20-years in prison for all three charges and a minimum of five years for two of the charges. Petersen could also be fined as much as $250,000 for each charge and be subject to supervised release of five years to life.

A jury trial is set to start on January 27th.

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