Shawn Michael Peterson, 22, of Rush City, was sentenced in Chisago County District Court Sept. 1 to 18 years in prison for first degree criminal conduct, according to a press release from the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office.
A Chisago County jury found him guilty of the charge, which was related to assaults he perpetrated on a girl under the age of 13 earlier this year. The sentence constituted an upward durational departure from the guideline sentence of 12 years after the jury found evidence of two aggravating factors. Those factors were that Peterson subjected the victim to multiple forms of penetration and that he was responsible for her welfare during the offense.
According to the criminal complaint:
On March 23, a deputy with the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to a residence in Rush City on a sexual assault of a child complaint. He made contact with a woman who told him of the assault and said Peterson was responsible. The woman told the deputy the molestation had occurred over the past year in an apartment in Rush City.
The deputy interviewed the girl, who confirmed that she had been assaulted by Peterson.
The girl said Peterson, who was known to her, told her “not to tell anyone” because it was a secret between the two of them.
On March 28, the girl spoke with a Chisago County Health and Human Services employee who conducted a forensic interview with her. On an anatomical diagram, the girl marked the areas where Peterson had allegedly performed sexual penetration on her.
At the end of the interview, the girl said even though Peterson told her to keep the acts a secret, she told a family member because that “was not a secret you should keep.”
She said she eventually told someone because she didn’t want the same things to happen to her baby sister.