Former Kearney Probation Officer Sentenced to Prison for Civil Rights Violations
United States Attorney Deborah R. Gilg announced that Thomas Peterson, age 57 of Kearney, Nebraska, was sentenced by the Honorable Richard G. Kopf, Senior United States District Judge, to nine years in prison to be followed by 5 years of supervised release following his conviction on four counts of violating the civil rights of female probationers under his supervision and one count of lying to the FBI when he submitted to an interview about the matter. Peterson was convicted in July by a federal jury sitting in Lincoln, Nebraska. The sentence imposed was the maximum the court could impose. Peterson was ordered to self-surrender at the facility designated by the Bureau of Prisons no later than January 9, 2017.
Evidence introduced at trial established that Peterson was a state probation officer with the District 9 probation office in Kearney. He supervised a caseload made up of offenders in need of intensive supervision. The jury heard evidence that from approximately 2010 through January of 2014, Mr. Peterson subjected four female probationers to unsolicited and non-consensual sexual contact. The jury also heard from three other women who had been supervised by Mr. Peterson who reported sexually charged advances or comments from Mr. Peterson which did not progress to the level of sexual contact. The jury found that Peterson had violated the civil rights of the four probationers by intruding into their constitutional rights to bodily integrity.
This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.