A 43-year-old Sun Valley man will be given a chance at rehabilitation for a sex crime he committed in April against a 9-year-old girl in Ketchum.
Mark Christian Peterson was placed in the Idaho Department of Correction “rider program” at sentencing Monday before Judge Robert J. Elgee in Blaine County 5th District Court. The rider program provides that a convicted felon can be held for up to 365 days in rehabilitation, usually at the department’s North Idaho Correctional Institution in Cottonwood. Elgee ordered that Peterson be enrolled in the facility’s sex-offender program.
Peterson pleaded guilty in August to the felony crime of sexual abuse of a child under 16, a crime punishable in Idaho by up to 25 years in prison.
Conviction of the crime requires that Peterson register as a sex offender.
Elgee also gave Peterson a suspended 8.5 year prison sentence, a sentence that can be imposed if the Department of Correction deems that Peterson is not being rehabilitated. Further, Peterson was ordered to pay a $5,000 civil penalty to the victim. He was given credit for 206 days served in the Blaine County jail, where he had been held on $100,000 bond since his arrest by Ketchum police on April 13.
Ketchum police reported then that Peterson was arrested because he followed the girl into a restroom at Giacobbi Square and looked under the bathroom stall that she was using. Police further reported that Peterson attempted to use his cell phone to photograph the girl.
Peterson was also originally charged with video voyeurism, another felony, but that charge was later dismissed by the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office because no evidence was produced to show that he successfully photographed the girl.