BENNINGTON — A Readsboro man is being extradited to Massachusetts on charges he assaulted and enticed a child. The offenses allegedly took place while he has been awaiting trial in a local child-luring case.
Massachusetts' Northern Berkshire County District Court has issued an arrest warrant for Gene Peterson, 62, on two felony charges: indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, as well as enticing a child under 16.
Peterson is accused of inappropriately touching an 8-year-old girl and asking if she could sneak out to meet him, according to court documents. The incidents reportedly occurred June 18 in North Adams, Mass., after Peterson sought out the child he had encountered a few days earlier in Readsboro.
When interviewed by police, Peterson admitted asking the child to meet him outside her home "to hang out," North Adams Detective David Sherman said in a statement submitted in court. Peterson admitted also to touching the child, but only on her back and shoulders.
When Sherman inquired why he would ask an 8-year-old girl to get away, according to the statement, Peterson replied: "I don't know, to talk to her and hang out ... I get along good with kids. I know it is pretty goofy, I realize that."
Vermont State Police arrested Peterson on July 20, the same day Sherman told the agency about his charges in Massachusetts.
Peterson was subsequently charged in Vermont Superior Court with two counts of violating his conditions of release, which forbid him from having contact with minors. He pleaded not guilty.
The court had imposed the release conditions after he was charged with luring a child in Bennington County last year. He pleaded not guilty to allegations of repeatedly making sexual comments to an 11-year-old girl. He declined to take a plea deal in June, choosing instead to go to trial, according to Bennington Superior Court records.
Peterson didn't challenge the extradition request from Massachusetts during a Superior Court hearing on July 21. At that time, a judge gave Berkshire County authorities 14 days to pick up Peterson from Vermont.
Until then, he is being held without bail at Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield.
As of Wednesday, the Northern Berkshire County District Court didn't have a schedule for his initial appearance. The clerk's office said his extradition was being overseen by the Berkshire County District Attorney's Office.
Contact Tiffany Tan at firstname.lastname@example.org or @tiffgtan on Facebook and Twitter.