U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Alaska
(907) 271-5071
January 8, 2015

Petersburg Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Child Exploitation

ANCHORAGE, AK—United States Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that a Petersburg resident was sentenced in federal court in Juneau to 12 years in federal prison for the distribution, receipt, and possession of child pornography.

On January 7, 2015, Tye Leif Petersen, 46, a resident of Petersburg, Alaska, was sentenced by United States District Court Judge Timothy M. Burgess. Upon completion of his prison term, Petersen must complete a 25 year term of supervised release.

Petersen was sentenced to 144 months (12 years) in prison for a count of distribution, receipt, and possession of sexual explicit images and videos of children. Many of images were of prepubescent children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The sentences are to run concurrently.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack S. Schmidt, Petersen, who had no criminal record, worked as the Director of Maintenance for the Petersburg School District. Petersen had distributed, received, and possessed over 2,000 images and 39 videos that included children under the age of twelve and material depicting sadistic or masochistic conduct. Petersen, in his position as Director of Maintenance, surreptitiously took pictures of children at the local high school and in the community of Petersburg. Petersen also obtained additional images from electronic media in the school’s lost and found, and on school-issued computers where Petersen recovered images using a software recovery program to obtain deleted images from the computers. Petersen then used those images to trade for child pornography on a Russian website that is solely used for the distribution and receipt of child pornography.

In ordering Petersen’s sentence, Judge Burgess noted the seriousness of the underlying offense and that Petersen’s actions were a “betrayal of trust” and “a level of betrayal and breach of trust that goes beyond what happens in most cases.” Judge Burgess further stated that the images the defendant took and used to trade for child pornography are “out there on the Internet, forever.” Judge Burgess further noted the need to deter the defendant and others, the need to protect the public from the defendant, and the need to provide treatment for the defendant as reasons for the sentence imposed.

Ms. Loeffler commends the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Petersburg Police Department joint investigation of this case.

This prosecution is part of the Department of Justice’s ongoing Project Safe Childhood (PSC) initiative which was launched to increase federal prosecutions of sexual predators of children, and to reduce the number of Internet crimes against children including child pornography trafficking. As a part of PSC, the United States Attorney’s Office has teamed with state and local agencies and organizations to increase law enforcement presence on the Internet, and to educate the public about safe Internet use, thereby reducing the risk that children might fall prey to online sexual predators. For additional information on the PSC initiative, please go to www.projectsafechildhood.gov or call the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska.

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