Man gets 30 days in online sex caseELLSWORTH — A Bay City man will serve jail time for having sexual conversations over the Internet with a girl he thought was 14 years old.
By: Jen Cullen, The Republican Eagle
ELLSWORTH — A Bay City man will serve jail time for having sexual conversations over the Internet with a girl he thought was 14 years old.
Tony Ray Peterson, 36, was sentenced Monday to 30 days behind bars and three years probation.
Peterson was busted when the teen he chatted with and sent pictures to online turned out to be a sheriff’s department investigator from Florida.
“I’m sorry,” Peterson said Monday in Pierce County Circuit Court. “I made a mistake.”
Peterson used a Webcam to broadcast himself masturbating and showing the girl his erect penis. He lived in Ellsworth when the incidents took place in 2005.
Peterson pleaded guilty in November to two felony charges in connection with the incident. Other charges — three misdemeanors and a felony — were dismissed.
Aaron Nelson, Peterson’s defense attorney, said 30 days in jail was too long. Nelson said the best punishment for his client was probation.
“I think Mr. Peterson takes this seriously,” Nelson said. “He’s not denying his actions. It’s certainly wrong, but it’s not sexually deviant.
“Something less than 30 days would get the point across that, ‘Hey, you can’t do this.’”
Pierce County District Attorney John O’Boyle asked for the 30-day sentence.
O’Boyle said he was concerned that the girl’s apparent age did not stop Peterson from engaging her in sexual conversations.
“Hopefully he doesn’t reoffend and this doesn’t happen again,” O’Boyle said. “Hopefully Mr. Peterson will learn a lesson here.”
Robert Wing, Pierce County Circuit Court judge, said he believed the jail sentence was necessary in a case such as Peterson’s.
“We have to make sure he understands very quickly there are consequences for his actions,” Wing said.