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Former Idaho budget director Marty Peterson charged with 11 more felonies in child porn case

Posted at 10:33 AM, Jan 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-08 12:34:36-05

BOISE, Idaho — Ada County prosecutors have filed additional child pornography charges against Martin L. “Marty” Peterson, the Idaho Statesman reports.

An Idaho political fixture, Peterson, 76, was initially charged on Oct. 4 with three felony counts of viewing/accessing sexually explicit images of minors. Prosecutors on Dec. 17 filed an amended complaint charging Peterson with 14 felony counts of viewing/accessing sexually explicit images of minors.

Some of the images Peterson allegedly accessed online involved sexual acts with children age 3 and younger.

Peterson’s preliminary hearing on the amended complaint is set for 9:30 a.m. Jan. 21 at the Ada County Courthouse.

During Peterson’s initial arraignment on Oct. 4, Ada County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Katelyn Farley told the court that the Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children Unit received a “cybertip” in January 2019 from Microsoft Bing alleging that child pornography had been uploaded to a computer.

The Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children Unit is a coalition of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies that investigate and prosecute individuals who use the internet or other technology to criminally exploit children.

Investigators from the Idaho Attorney General’s Office and Boise police traced the computer to Peterson’s home. During an Oct. 3 search of his Boise home, Peterson allegedly told investigators that he viewed legal and illegal pornography, the prosecuting attorney told the judge.

At the Oct. 4 arraignment, Ada County Magistrate Judge Michael Oths set Peterson’s bond at $20,000 and issued a no-contact order prohibiting Peterson from having any contact with unaccompanied minors. The judge also ordered Peterson to surrender his passport and not access the internet.

Peterson has been a figure in Idaho politics for five decades. He served on U.S. Sen. Frank Church’s staff, on former Gov. Butch Otter’s transition team, as the executive director of the Association of Idaho Cities and on the Idaho Humanities Council, per his page on the Idaho Humanities Council website. He was also the budget director for former Govs. John Evans and Cecil Andrus, and has served as an assistant to several University of Idaho presidents.

Peterson, a Lewiston native and University of Idaho graduate, has served on U of I’s School of Journalism and Mass Media advisory board, the Friends of Idaho Public Television board and as the president for the Foundation for Idaho History. He also was the director of U of I’s James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research.

Editor’s note: Martin L. Peterson was a longtime community member of the Idaho Statesman’s editorial board. He was temporarily removed from the board when charges came to light, and he subsequently resigned from the board.

To read Cynthia Sewell's full story, check out the Idaho Statesman.