SOUTH BEND – A former bank president accused of molesting a 6-year-old girl in May 2008 has been sentenced to two years in prison for violating the terms of a plea agreement.
45-year-old William Peterson of Granger pleaded guilty to sexual battery and battery and is now required to register as a sex offender.
On April 12, Peterson reportedly tested positive for alcohol, violating his plea agreement, refused urine drug screenings, failed to report to probation and did not attend alcohol and mental health counseling, according to deputy prosecutor Cara Brook at an April 20 hearing.
By not following the court deal, St, Joseph Superior Court Judge Jane Woodward Miller called Peterson to court to convict him of child molesting and sexual battery, and on Friday, it was Woodward Miller who handed down the 2-year prison sentence.
According to court documents, Peterson, former president of St. Joseph, Mich.-based Edgewater Bank, fondled a sleeping 6-year-old girl at a home in Granger in May 2008.
The girl's mother, a family friend, told police she found an intoxicated Peterson with his hand down the front of the girl's pajama bottoms.
Edgewater fired Peterson in late 2008, shortly after prosecutors filed charges in the case.
In May 2011, Peterson pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery as part of plea agreement under which he did not have to register as a sex offender.
Among other things, the agreement required that Peterson have no contact with the victim, attend Alcoholics Anonymous, continue psychiatric counseling, abstain from alcohol and report to probation.
If Peterson abided by those terms, he would be sentenced in 2014 on one count of misdemeanor battery, the agreement stated.
If not, the judge could decide to call him to court and convict him of child molesting and sexual battery, as happened in April.
Speaking after the hearing in April, the victim's father admitted to mixed emotions.
"I'm disheartened that he (Peterson) could not pull himself together and obey his probation," he said, "but I'm resolved that this seems to have come to a conclusion and he's convicted."