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Attorney General Marty Jackley

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Watertown Man Pleads Guilty to Possession of Child Pornography

Watertown Man Pleads Guilty to Possession of Child Pornography

(Pierre) – Chief Deputy Attorney General Larry Long announced today that John Mathew Peterson, Watertown, pled guilty in circuit court to eight counts of possession of child pornography. His conviction is the first in South Dakota stemming from Operation Avalanche.  

No sentencing date has been set, but a pre-sentence investigation has been ordered. As part of that order, Peterson has agreed to obtain a psychosexual evaluation.

Peterson faces two years behind bars and a $2,000 fine per count.

Operation Avalanche was a Texas Law Enforcement investigation of a child pornography website. Texas Law Enforcement forwarded the names of South Dakota residents who subscribed to the site to the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation. The leads stemming from Operation Avalanche led to the execution of approximately 20 search warrants and six arrests in South Dakota.

“Unless they’re stopped, some of these people will become pedophiles,” said Chief Deputy Attorney General Larry Long. “The natural progression of a lot of these guys is to move from viewing images to physically acting on their urges.”

Long and Codington County State's Attorney Vince Foley will continue to handle the prosecution of Peterson.