Vikings’ Peterson will have chance at plea deal after child abuse indictment

A DEC. 29, 2013 FILE PHOTOAnn Heisenfelt/AP Adrian Peterson will be on the sidelines will remain on the sidelines for the forseeable future.

CONROE, Texas – From midtown Manhattan to Texas to Minnesota, the reverberations from the Adrian Peterson child abuse indictment continue to be felt across the country.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell referred to the images of tailback Adrian Peterson’s four-year-old son and the bruises Peterson gave him after whipping the boy with a stick “tragic” and “hard to look at” Friday afternoon in midtown Manhattan.

Meanwhile, in Minnesota, Hennepin County filed a court petition seeking protection for the unnamed boy after his alleged abuse. The petition requested that a judge approve a safety plan for the child, including that Peterson not have any unsupervised or unauthorized contact with the child, and that he cannot use any “corporal punishment and/or physical discipline.”

“State law requires us to file an action in child protection court when charges are filed in criminal court alleging serious injuries against a child living in Hennepin County,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said. “Our own internal investigation has revealed that the injuries were serious enough to meet the legal threshold and, as a result, we have filed a Child in Need of Protection and Services petition (CHIPS) in Hennepin County District Court this afternoon. Due to state privacy laws, as well as the understandable desire of the mother to protect her child’s privacy, we will not comment further on this petition.”

Peterson’s case is also being monitored in his home state of Texas. The Montgomery County (Texas) District Attorney’s office is ready to hold plea negotiations with Peterson regarding the felony charge he faces, according to first assistant Phil Grant.

“We will treat Mr. Peterson as any other defendant, so plea negotiations would be a standard practice,” Grant said in an e-mail.

Peterson, 29, was indicted by a grand jury last Friday and charged with reckless or negligent injury to a child after beating his four-year-old son with a small tree branch, leaving bloody cuts, welts and bruises on the boy’s legs and buttocks. Peterson appeared before the grand jury, but maintained in a statement released earlier in the week that he is not a child abuser. Peterson faces up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted.

“I have to live with the fact that when I disciplined my son the way I was disciplined as a child, I caused an injury that I never intended or thought would happen.” Peterson said.

Peterson was deactivated by the Vikings last week, and reinstated on Monday. The NFL then announced that Peterson was placed on commissioner Roger Goodell’s exempt list, barring him from team activities. The Vikings play in New Orleans Sunday.

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