Sex Offender Tells Neighbors Not to Worry About Him

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A dozen years ago, 48-year-old Carl Peterson was sentenced to four years in jail for raping his 14-year-old niece. Recently, he stood up before the community he now lives in with his wife and 14-year-old daughter to tell them he's no threat to them. "I'm the level 3 sex offender all of you have been talking about," he told the gathering of about 100 people at the Belmont, Massachusetts high school auditorium. "It seems as though the big reason why we are here tonight is me."

Carl explained to the community that he has been seeing a therapist for eight years and is certain he will never recommit that crime. According to the Belmont Patch, he told them:

The problem is all you know, all you get to know about my problem is what you read ... which says I'm the most dangerous and the most likely to reoffend of all sex offenders. It also says my offense was the rape against a child. What's important is that I'm not the victim. I'm a sex offender and I committed a crime and I did spend four years in prison for.

Some in the audience yelled at him, while others shushed them and said it was important to hear what he had to say. Peterson went on to say that his crimes were not against "pre-school children" or "many children," but a girl he knew. And he promised: "At this point, I know that it will never happen again." He then offered to speak to anyone who wanted to approach him.

We can despise this man's crime, but I think it's admirable for him to stand up and announce himself in front of his community. Many didn't even know him, and yet he just made himself a target in the hopes of allaying people's fears. But he also planted a seed of trust, which may bloom. Isn't it better to know the people in our community we may have doubts and fears about rather than let our imaginations get the better of us?

What this man did a dozen years ago was inexcusable. What he did now was brave.

Forgiveness is something we must practice, if people are showing themselves worthy of it. So far, he is.

Could you forgive this man living in your community? What do you think about what he did?

Editor's Note: While many reports state that the victim was 14 years old, the sex offender registry says Peterson was convicted of "assault and battery on a child under 14."

Image via Belmont Police


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miche... micheledo

I don't understand why "I" need to forgive him.  He did not wrong me.

If by forgive him, you mean not worry about him, well then, NO!

Sure he might not do it again.  He might not be a danger to the children.  BUT, his actions resulted in consequences.  And one of those consequences is that I would NOT trust him.  I would appreciate his willingness to talk to people, and I would be kind to him - just like I would every other neighbor.  But he still committed a crime in the past that would make me keep an eye on him.

LawNO... LawNOrderMommy

He also opened his wife and daughter up to commentary and criticism. His child is 14? Yes because we all know how open minded and accepting teenagers are. I foresee some hard years ahead for her. His announcement doesn't just effect him, the stares and possible snubbing by his community may not be hard on him since he's seeing a therapist but I would be willing to bet his wife and daughter may need counseling themselves before very long to deal with the new reality of being "the molesters" wife and child.

curly... curlycues

Sexual offender have high rates of re-committing the same crime, they just don't really "get better"...Ive talked about this extensively with police officers and etc. Psycologists say that unless a sexual offender (esp. against children) says, "I'm never going to be around kids because I am an offender"... ( Like people in A.A. never trust themselves around alcohol.) Basically once you are "bent" (to use a visual term) you really never get back to what you were before. there is always that in the psyche.

Brain... BrainyMommy

What he did should be a condition of parole. This way people can have the opportunity to better understand the potential threat in their neighborhood. 

jayha... jayhawk00

Absolutely not.  This "let's forgive" attitude in our society is the exact mentality that has led to sex-offenders thinking they can get away with these crimes and other crimes like mass shootings.  Would you leave your female child alone in a room with this man for even a minute?  Or even your son?  All rapist and pedophiles should be locked up for life.  Even one offense is too much and should not be tolerated at all.  This writer's attitude makes me sick and so do this man's crimes against an innocent child.  

the4m... the4mutts

Forgive, and trust? I think not.

While I wouldnt be hunting him down or tormenting him in his home, I certainly wouldnt be all friendly and neighborly with him, and certainly wouldnt let my kids near him, or his daughter.

MamaH... MamaHasWings

I am a victim of child sexual abuse, both by someone I knew and by someone I did not know. The person that I knew, while an absolutely vile person, is not a threat to other children. It isn't really necessary for me to elaborate on that, just that he was after *me* and that was it. I am very confident of that... which sucked for me but is good for everyone else I guess. The person I did not know, however, I am positive would (and more than likely has) abuse again. This man violated his niece, someone he knew. He served prison time, has been in therapy for almost a decade, more than likely is on some sort of medication and is accepting of his actions - he is not in denial, he is not making excuses for what happened. I personally would give him the benefit of the doubt. Does that mean I would let him around my children? No. On the other hand I would not organize a group of people to lynch him in the middle of the night or deliberately run him out of town. I would keep my distance, be cordial if I had to be, be sympathetic towards his wife and daughter. (cont.)

MamaH... MamaHasWings

In a perfect utopian world there would be no sex offenders. Reality is - they are everywhere. Even if you live in the middle of nowhere, down the road a mile or so, there could be an offender. Just like there are drug dealers everywhere, thiefs everywhere... sex offenders are a part of our society and we just have to accept that. We have to protect our children, be vigilant of who they are around, do not leave them unattended, stop trusting people completely with our children regardless of how close of a family member they are. I was attacked because I did not have parents that did that... and that's a damn shame. This man isn't the threat, it's people not minding their children that is.

Alynn74 Alynn74

I would be watchful and never fully trust him. I would like to say that I wouldn't be unfriendly but I just don't know. My husband would never accept him, trust him,or even be nice to him.

Prett... PrettyPants

This article disgusted me! I can't believe it was even written in this manner to forgive and how 'brave' this man was. This man is a coward and will always be a coward, this man doesn't need to be respected or shown as a hero for speaking out in front of anyone about the child rape he commited. 

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