Peterka sentenced to 14 years in state penitentiary
GRAFTON – Shane Philip Peterka, 39, of Grand Forks was sentenced to 14 years in the North Dakota State Penitentiary, followed by 55 years of supervised probation.
The sentence was handed down by the Honorable M. Richard Geiger, judge of the Northeast Judicial District Court following a sentencing hearing held Monday in Northeast District Court.
In March 2012, Peterka was charged with 119 counts of possession of child pornography following the execution of a search warrant at a residence in Pisek. The search warrant was based on an online investigation conducted by the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NDBCI) which was assigned by North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem to combat internet child pornography.
The NDBCI worked in conjunction with agents assigned to Homeland Security Investigations and the local Walsh County Sheriff’s Office to investigate Peterka.
On Oct. 9, Geiger rejected a plea agreement that would have sentenced Peterka to seven and one-half years in prison. As a result, Peterka, upon the advice of his attorney entered an open plea to 119 counts of possessing child pornography.
Also at that time, Peterka sought additional time prior to sentencing to obtain an evaluation from independent psychologist Dr. Stacey Benson of Fargo.
During the hearing Geiger heard testimony from Benson and also considered the pre-sentence investigation conducted by the North Dakota Division of Field Services, recommendations made by the State’s Attorney and Peterka’s attorney, Clint Morgenstern of Grand Forks.
Judge Geiger commented from the bench that this was not a “victimless” crime and that the 119 identified children had been harmed by Peterka’s consumption of internet child pornography. The 119 counts were based on separate images that included children who could be identified by the Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Identification of children victimized in child pornography is aided by the center’s data base.