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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Washington

Friday, February 27, 2015

Tribal Member Convicted of Sex Crime Returned to Prison for Failing to Register as a Sex Offender

Defendant Returned To Reservation Where Crime Occurred, Refused To Register As Required

            An enrolled member of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska was sentenced to an additional 12 months in prison today for failing to register as a sex offender, announced Acting United States Attorney Annette L. Hayes.  THOMAS LEE PETERS, 52, failed to register as a sex offender when he moved back to the Swinomish Reservation near La Conner in Skagit County.  In 2009, PETERS was sentenced to five years in federal prison for three counts of sexual abuse of a minor for molesting a young relative while residing on the Swinomish Reservation.  After his release from prison, PETERS initially registered in King County, but fled his Seattle residence without notice, and failed to check in with his probation officer as required.  At sentencing U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik told him the original charges of conviction were very serious and that he needed to register as a sex offender.

            According to records filed in the case, PETERS was released from federal custody and registered as a sex offender with the King County Sheriff in February 2014.  He signed a statement acknowledging that if he moved from the residence he listed in Seattle he needed to notify law enforcement.  In late June 2014, PETERS violated the terms of his ten years of supervision.  The violations included consuming alcohol, and failing to report to his probation officer as directed.  In August 2014, Swinomish Tribal Police located PETERS on tribal land and arrested him at the request of the U.S. Marshal Service for failing to register as a sex offender.     

            PETERS pleaded guilty November 25, 2014.

            The case was investigated by the U.S. Marshals Service and the Swinomish Police Department.

            The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney J. Tate London.  Mr. London serves as a Tribal Liaison for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Updated March 20, 2015