'I'm the Level 3 Sex Offender All Of You Have Been Talking About'

In an extraordinary presentation, Belmont's highest level sex offender speaks to residents about their concerns of him.

Level 3 sex offender Carl Peterson talking at a public meeting that included Belmont Police Chief Richard McLaughlin.
Level 3 sex offender Carl Peterson talking at a public meeting that included Belmont Police Chief Richard McLaughlin.

The tall, middle-aged man strode to the microphone in front of approximately 100 citizens in the Belmont High School auditorium Thursday night, Sept. 19.

Wearing loose-fitting jeans, a T-shirt and an unbuttoned shirt combo over a slight paunch, the man could have been any one of the thousands of parents or guardians ready to speak about school fees, the latest round of test scores or if the town can afford a new High School.

He was anything but. 

"My name is Carl Peterson. I'm the level 3 sex offender all of you have been talking about," said the 48-year-old Bernard Road resident as the audience sat in rapt silence. Several held a hand to their mouth, others sat forward in their chairs, but all waited on each sentence.

It is extremely rare that a convicted sex offender speaks freely about their crime and the life they attempt to live in a new community.

But at the meeting organized by the Belmont Police Department to inform the public of the sexual offenders registry and safety concerns, Peterson told his new neighbors that they only know the most basic informationregarding him and the reason he was incarcerated for four years
in 2001.

"It seems as though the big reason why we are here tonight is me," said Peterson, a 6-foot, 5-inch, glasses-wearing former Lexington resident, who moved in with his wife and their 14-year-old daughter on Barnard Street in late July.

Read about the public meeting in a related story in Belmont Patch.  

"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," said Peterson, as state officials, law enforcement and Belmont Police, who had spoken earlier, stood silently behind him. 

Speaking in a calm, slightly high-pitched voice, Peterson described in the most general terms a single incident, an assault, committed in 1999 in Ohio on his niece, who was under 13 years.

"I don't want to hear this!" a woman cried out from the back of the hall, breaking the tension with the outburst.

"Just go!," said another. 

"It happened over the course of a weekend 12 years ago," said Peterson.

"Nobody cares," came another response.

But for the majority in the hall, Peterson's admission was compelling.

"This is important," explained a resident, who said she came to the meeting not knowing anything about Peterson or even the issue of a level 3 sex offender living in town. 

"Whoever is uncomfortable, we respect that. But we are being told that we need to be knowledgeable to protect our children," she said, adding that she wanted to hear what "Mr. Peterson" had to say. 

"I'm shocked what I'm hearing but I want to hear it," she said to the applause of many. 

"It's not important what I did," said Peterson, to the derision of some.

"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," he said.

"You were charged with rape," answered a resident. 

"The problem with that word is when I hear [it] and [the phrase] a sex offender likely to reoffend, what I hear is 'a pedophile.' That word has been tossed around ... That is not what happened in my case," said Peterson, who again told the audience about the incident and his immediate confession to the parents and law enforcement. 

"It scared me when this happened. Before this happened, I would have said and meant it, 'I would never have an offense against a child. That wasn't who I am.' But the problem was I did have an offense against a child," he said. 

"One of the scariest thing while spending time in prison was wondering ... that it will not happen again," said Peterson, saying that he has been in therapy for the past eight years with Dr. Carol Ball, a licensed psychologist in Arlington and a founder of New England Forensic Associates, "to answer that question." 

"At this point, I know that it will never happen again," said Peterson. 

"You don't,” he said.

"There is nothing that I can say that says 'You don't have to worry about me,'" he stated. "One thing I can say is I will answer any questions you have ever," including how his therapy is placing safeguards to prevent another act from occurring. 

He discussed initiating meetings with Belmont High School Principal Dr. Dan Richards and is church's pastor (long-time educator, former Watertown High School Headmaster Steve Watson) on "the kind of things that scare people" about him.

"I don't want to scare people," said Peterson. "You are afraid of me and I hate that. There's not a whole lot that I can do about that, except some of the things I can do," such as not talking or "hanging out" with children and informing all their friends and the parents of his daughter's friends about him and his past. 

Peterson said his crime was against a family member, not "running down the street and see some children." The question whether I should be living near a preschool is a question that is more asked in general" about convicted sex offenders like Peterson.

"My crime was not against pre-school children or somebody I didn't know or lots of lots of children. It was against my niece," said Peterson. 

"If you have serious questions, talk to me," he said. 

Peterson and his wife, who sat next to him at the meeting, said they are not immune to the fears of those who wish to harm children. 

"I'm a parent. I have a 14-year-old daughter. On the first day of school, a white SUV showed up and approached a child. I'm a level 3 sex offender; it scared me to death. We talked about this to our daughter. I talked to this about my wife. What happened is the kid did not get picked up. He knew exactly what to do. The kid said 'This is not OK' and went away and told the police. There's not much else [parents] can do except [talk to their own children] about being safe," Peterson said. 

At the end of the meeting, as the audience was leaving, a smartly-dressed man came up to Peterson, shook his hand and said it was a "brave" thing for him to acknowledge what he did and present himself to the town. 

Peterson simply nodded and stared straight ahead. 

Tracy Carroll-Grygiel September 28, 2013 at 01:10 PM
Jeng -- we're not debating a 12 year old. We are debating a grown man. Not interested in discussing anything else at this point. Steve -- That's borderline red-herring arguing. "Sure it's a terrible crime, but it's not as bad as murder.". Not buying it. Rod -- you suffer from Argumentum ex Silentio, Argument from Ignorance, Reifying and good old fashioned Ad Hominem attacks. Which is why no one takes you or Mike or your ilk seriously. Good day.
jeng September 28, 2013 at 10:16 PM
Yes Tracy this is a debate about sex offenders no matter the age and as long as there are closed minded people there will always be the need to stand up for what is not right the point is this 12 year old will someday be an adult having to face his community and the same way people have treated this man is the way he will also be treated because no one wants to hear facts they only have been taught to judge and this crime has a lifetime punishment which is against every fabric that this nation stands for and at this point no one can tell what the debate is in this thread is just name calling not any debate I have been to since elementary school
Jonathan Birge September 28, 2013 at 10:22 PM
Michael: I'm not terribly impressed with Tracy (nor you, for that matter) but if you think "the shoe fits" with regard to equivocating Tracy with Hitler, then I have nothing more to say to you. Except maybe read some books on history. And get some therapy. Actually, that goes for pretty much anybody still involved in this embarrassment of a discussion. Including me, perhaps.
Tracy Carroll-Grygiel September 29, 2013 at 07:34 PM
Jonathan, I'm not terribly impressed with you either. Nor I'm am impressed with most of the posters. It seems as if you have a strong opinion, you're attacked, compared to Hitler, or disregarded. I can assure you, I'm not losing sleep over what your personal opinions of me are, however, I have stuck to the thread continually. Have a good evening Jonathan, thanks for the support (even with the sideways insult),Tracy
Tracy Carroll-Grygiel September 29, 2013 at 07:35 PM
Jeni, punctuation.
Michael D. Smith September 29, 2013 at 08:46 PM
Especially you Jonathan..........especially you. As if I care whether or not you ever had anything to say to me. You obviously overestimate your importance in my life. I bet you do that a lot.
Chris September 30, 2013 at 10:59 AM
Tracy, what is it with your pigheaded opinions, and why do you think people actually care about them? It's great that you want to troll every single comment that comes to Peterson's defense, but why don't you ever have something intelligible to add? P.S. - I still know you're a fake :)
Rod Temple October 01, 2013 at 11:23 AM
captfb September 27, 2013 at 03:28 PM: I advocate that Registered families follow all laws. Registration and the "Sex Offender" laws are a primary weapon of the criminal regimes and the terrorists that support them. Registered families should neutralize all weapons used against them so, for that reason, at least, Registered families should follow all laws. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ We know that Registration, etc. are not for public safety or protecting anyone. I do believe the point has long passed where violence retaliation is justified. I don't advocate that but I do believe it would often be justified. A person who is Registered probably hurt someone. The Registered person paid for that (and years in prison is severe punishment for those of you dipshits that are in doubt). But today we have criminal legislators that are passing idiotic, illegal laws that have no hope of doing anything positive. The criminal legislators are doing it for votes and to make themselves look good. Those laws are often affecting more than a million people. People who attack that many people deserve to pay a severe price. I advocate that Registered families follow the law but believe me, those legislators deserve violence. And I will celebrate it if that's what they get. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ You may be aware that criminal regimes all over the U.S. are passing laws every day that retroactively affect people listed on their panacea Registries and ONLY those people (e.g. not violent, career criminals). What is happening is that a Registered family is told that they have to follow these, say, 20 laws. Six months afterward they are told, "oh, and we decide that there are a few other things you have to do." Then six months after that, it is repeated again. And that hasn't stopped. The criminal regimes continue to dream things up and will go as far as they can until they clearly pass the legal line. And again, meanwhile, these same criminal regimes aren't very concerned about violent, career criminals. We can't even bother to Register them. The whole thing is just immoral and un-American. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ When a criminal regime passes a law that requires a Registered family to do something, that is theft. When a Registered family is restricted from going somewhere, it is theft. Do you know there are some criminal regimes that have said that Registered families cannot go to any parks, beaches, etc.? Are those people restricted from accessing the ocean there even? Who knows? But the people who support it are stealing from another group of people. (Continued in my next post)
Rod Temple October 01, 2013 at 11:24 AM
(Continued from my previous post) I do believe that when criminal regimes restrict Registered families from going somewhere, those Registered families should individually identify the people who support that and do whatever they can that is legal to lower the quality of those people's lives. The Registered families have been attacked, they should return the attack. And they should attack the entire family, just as the entire Registered family is attacked. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ The fact of the matter is, it doesn't matter to you if Mr. Peterson attends games or not. That should change nothing with regard to how/where/why you protect your children. In fact, why do you even need to know who Mr. Peterson is? You should be protecting your children as if there is someone around them that is 1,000 times more likely to harm them than Mr. Peterson is. And facts have shown that there almost certainly WAS like that around them before you ever even heard of Mr. Peterson. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ I don't like that Mr. Peterson tried to appease the mob. Only reasonable people deserve appeasement. He should have no concern if people are "worried" about him being around or anything else. The Registries are immoral, un-American, etc. He should be around children all the time precisely because of that. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ If you support the Registries, you should be working to get the rest of them created. If you support keeping some people out of schools, you should support keeping ALL violent criminals out of schools. Don't be a transparent hypocrite. If your criminal regime wants to pass a "sex offender" law, tell them to just go ahead and add all people convicted of a crime to it. They will surely give you some lame excuses but all they have to do is write it down. Or is it really not for the children after all?
Robert L. Cerra October 08, 2013 at 04:36 AM
Peterson paid for his crime and he shouldn't suffer further punishment. Mr Peterson isn't being punished by being on the registry of sex offendors or being denied contact with minors. Those restrictions are put in place for the protection of the public, as ineffective as they might be. Mr Peterson wants acceptance in the community and his public admission is the first step. If Mr Peterson wasn't a threat he wouldn't be on the sex registry. I willing to accept Mr Peterson when the Commonwealth of Massachusetts makes all criminal records, public records and people can make their own decision about individuals. Mr Peterson was an adult when he committed the offense, he made a decision and he will have to live with it.
Rod Temple October 14, 2013 at 09:33 AM
Robert L. Cerra (October 08, 2013 at 04:36 AM): ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ You are wrong. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ The Sex Offender Registries are punishment. Further, every day, criminal regimes all over the U.S. add new "restrictions" to affect the families that are listed on the Registries. There are no Americans who support that. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ People who are listed on the Registries are not denied contact with minors. They are around minors as much as they want. In fact, many people who are listed go out of their way to be around children as often as possible only because that is the proper, moral response to the idiocy of the Registries. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ The "restrictions" are not "put in place for the protection of the public". If they were, they would have been applied to all people who have been convicted of harming anyone. They are in place to appease brainless mobs. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Mr Peterson may or may not want "acceptance in the community". But I'm certain that he would like for people to leave him and his family alone.
Robert L. Cerra October 15, 2013 at 05:59 AM
Mr Temple presents some good arguments, but then decides that anyone who has an opposing position is a member of the "mindless mob". Any kind of a criminal records should be a public records and the public should have the right to access a public web site and check someone's criminal record. A criminal complaint against an individual has the heading the Commonwealth Vs. __________ - these are offenses against all the members of society not just the victims. It is not a justification to keep that information secret because individuals such as Mr Temple don't think you are going to use that information correctly If we were concerned about that court proceedings would be in secret - they are open to the public We have become more concerned with privacy than public safety. We should have more people like Mr Peterson speak to the public so that other individuals who might be considering some kind of illegal activity might consider the collateral problems that arise after committing a crime, such as the ones that Mr Peterson is experiencing
Jonathan Birge October 16, 2013 at 10:24 PM
Rod, let me correct you on a few points. First, the registries do not allow people access to anything that is not, for the most part, public information. It's generally quite easy to find where people live if you know their name (it used to be in the phone book, but it's still around) and the list of convictions on any crime (for an adult) is a matter of public record. So, the registries are mostly just facilitating communities having access to information that is already public. If Peterson didn't want people to know what he did, he shouldn't have done it. Part of getting convicted of a felony is that your conviction is public. And, please, nobody is harassing Peterson. If talking about somebody in a negative light on an comment forum is harassment, there are about fifteen people who are being harassed by this comment thread. Finally, let me help you get your head around the reason for the registry. Maybe it will make you feel better about the registries to know that there actually is a very good reason that not "all people who have been convicted of harming anyone" have registries. Sex offenders are much more likely to commit a similar crime in the future than other offenders. It also may have something to do with the fact that many of their victims are kids. This is not indiscriminate.
RC Crawford October 16, 2013 at 11:20 PM
Jonathan- DOC begs to differ http://www.corrections.com/news/article/24500-facts-and-fiction-about-sex-offenders The registries do nothing and serve as a tool for harassment. In this case, Peterson has a 14 year old daughter to whom he is not a threat. The problem? His own daughter is now the victim of harassment, along the actual children who are on the list for things such as "playing doctor." See the disconnect?
Rod Temple October 17, 2013 at 12:39 PM
Jonathan Birge (October 16, 2013 at 10:24 PM): ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ You are not going to be able to educate me about the Registries. And you have much to learn. You really don't believe "the registries are mostly just facilitating communities having access to information that is already public", do you? Freaking hilarious. Why would you need them then? I happen to actually know that people don't need them, BTW. People don't need them and when/if you did, they wouldn't be nearly enough. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Anyway, the Registries are all about harassment. When you tell a person where he/she can go, that is harassment and literally nothing else. "Public safety", my ass. The list of ways that families that are listed on the hit lists are harassed is practically endless. You do realize that listed families have been murdered simply because they are listed, right? I would call that harassment. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ I AM glad that you tried to defend the indefensible - why there are Sex Offender Registries but not a hundred other types of Registries. But you completely selected the wrong defense. There are hundreds and hundreds of other types of crimes for which the recidivism rate is many, many multiple higher than it is for sex crimes. And those crimes are very often more damaging than sex crimes are as well. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ I have life-long, career criminals living right down the road from me who are truly dangerous people who are listed on no nanny big government Registry. Yet I know about a guy near me who used to flash women 15 years ago and has committed not one other crime. He's been a good man with a large family, always employed, etc., etc. for around 50 years. Oh, I'm sure he's been getting away with child molesting for years, right? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ I have people living near me who have freaking SHOT people. On purpose. You don't think they might do that again? You don't think that's dangerous? I have people near me who cook drugs in their homes and give them to children for free. And the real, pure stupidity of the Sex Offender Registries is that it is easy to protect your children from child molesters. Easy. But people who shoot people and drink and use drugs? Not so easy. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ And you think for those other criminals it's not true that "many of their victims are kids"? They are not dangerous to kids? And are we only "protecting children" with the panacea Sex Offender Registries anyway? Then why would we be listing adult offenders? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Sorry, you can't defend the fact that there are no other Registries. But there are a couple of semi-legitimate reasons why they don't exist. Please try to guess them. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Experts have never supported the Registries. There are good reasons for that. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ American citizens were not able to have the Sex Offender Registries and use them responsibly, so today they are unacceptable and we've got a war on our hands. And you can believe me, whether you know or understand it or not, the side of the Registries has already lost. But please don't let that stop you from growing your big governments to "track" and "monitor" all people who have committed crimes. You have no excuse not to.
Robert L. Cerra October 18, 2013 at 05:40 AM
I'm just thankful that Mr Temple isn't on the Public Safety Committee
captfb October 18, 2013 at 09:48 AM
Looks like Mr. Peterson might be lying about what really happened back in 1999. Check the dayton daily news. Search on Peterson with a date of 07-27-1999. http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/archive/ TEACHER ACCUSED OF SEX CRIMES OUT ON BOND * The allegations involve two girls, ages 9 and 11, who were not his
students. BYLINE: Derek Ali Dayton Daily News DATE: July 27, 1999 PUBLICATION: Dayton Daily News (OH) EDITION: CITY SECTION: METRO PAGE: 3B Carl O. Peterson, a teacher at Tri-County North Middle School charged with two counts of rape and three counts of gross sexual imposition, is free on $75,000 cash bond. Peterson waived a preliminary hearing last week, according to Clayton police Detective Sgt. Steve Caudell. The case is pending a Montgomery County grand jury hearing, according to a spokeswoman in the Montgomery County prosecutor's office. Clayton police arrested Peterson at 717 W. Martindale Road, Union, on July 12, according to Caudell. "He was arrested at his residence. The alleged offenses occurred in the city of Clayton. That's why we're involved." Police said the victims are two girls, ages 9 and 11. Caudell would not elaborate on any relationship Peterson might have had with the girls. "He definitely was in an authoritative role. No, it wasn't a student," Caudell said. "We're trying for obvious reasons to protect the juveniles. They were in his charge at the time of the alleged offense." One of the juvenile's parents reported the allegations to police, Caudell said. Clayton police said they have not had previous contact with Peterson. Officials of the Tri-County North school district could not be reached Monday. The Dayton Daily News called Peterson's home Monday evening for comment and was referred to his attorney, David Williamson, who could not be reached.
Rod Temple October 18, 2013 at 12:37 PM
Robert L. Cerra (October 18, 2013 at 05:40 AM): ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ I know! Why would you want someone on there who cares about facts and reality?! I wouldn't propose any BS big government laws that make you feel good but that are actually worse than just worthless. That's no fun. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ But I GUARANTEE you one thing - any laws/ordinances/rules that you care to pass to harass people like Mr. Peterson will almost 100% certainly not hinder anyone from committing any crime that he/she would like. But they will make those people care a LOT less about other people, to the point that many of them want to hurt other people. And they will make it more likely that those people will commit a crime, including a sex crime. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ I actually personally happen to think that those are some of the main goals of the Registries - to get the families listed on them to commit crimes so we can really imprison them for a long time. Right? For each family listed on a Registries, we'll sacrifice one or a few new victims just so we can really harm the listed family? I mean, if that happens we can imprison them for a very long time and that certainly has to make Registry Terrorists happy.
Rod Temple October 18, 2013 at 12:42 PM
Robert L. Cerra (October 18, 2013 at 05:40 AM): ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Do you think people who have shot people are potentially dangerous and should be listed on a Registry? Do you think those people are more or less of a danger than Mr. Peterson is when attending a public volleyball game?
J.r. Bob Dobbs October 18, 2013 at 08:53 PM
old thread but, am i the only one who wouldnt mind seeing tracy eat a bullet? or better yet, a mouth full of buckshot from a 12bore?
Chris October 22, 2013 at 11:35 AM
All sex offenders who harm children should be castrated or hanged via the justice system.
Rod Temple October 22, 2013 at 12:00 PM
Chris (October 22, 2013 at 11:35 AM): There are obviously going to be more people who molest children in the U.S. The person who does it is always someone's child. I always pray that they are the children of people like you so that people who propose inhumane and draconian punishments for other people's children get to apply it to their own children. I pray that every day.
Rod Temple October 22, 2013 at 12:01 PM
Chris (October 22, 2013 at 11:35 AM): Further, these people who harm children, do they have to be "sex offenders" as you stated? Or can we simply castrate or hang anyone who harms children? How about we start with just simply not being a bunch of hypocritical liars and just get Registries created for all people who harm anyone? Can you start working on that yesterday?
Chris October 22, 2013 at 02:21 PM
Rob, by chance, are you a sex offender?
Chris October 22, 2013 at 02:22 PM
It seems so the way you defend this child rapist.
Chris October 22, 2013 at 02:30 PM
Sorry, I meant Rod...perfect name for you.
Matt November 13, 2013 at 11:47 AM
This meeting highlights how the general public CONTRIBUTES to the problem of sexual assault. We're so busy persecuting those who HAVE been caught, who HAVE answered for their crimes and who have actually received psychological services to discourage them from re-offending that we're blind to the fact that there are exponentially more offenders out there who HAVEN'T been caught. Compare the statistics: The number of girls under 18 reporting having being assaulted vs. The number of men locked up for committing these crimes. Mr. Peterson wasn't caught because he was one of the particularly bad offenders. He was caught because he wasn't as good at covering it up or intimidating his victim as those who remain at large. I'm not suggesting the registries don't have value, but persecuting those on them who are trying to live a straight life won't stop the problem. Vigilance will. Watching your kids and preventing crimes BEFORE they happen, will.
sandi g November 29, 2013 at 08:18 PM
I live in Arlington and people from Belmont are from another planet, NO the world doesnt revolve around you....Quit being yuppie idiots........welcome to the world, and just maybe if you had a clue (alittle streetwise) you wouldnt be so devasted...This man was let out of jail, he has a right to live where he wants, these yuppie parents are the ones that have the messed up kids , to be honest.:)
razdiak klimmestein November 30, 2013 at 02:26 PM
Sandi, it must be nice being you. So removed. I guess you missed the part about where he uses his stepdaughter as a means to go watch the girls play volleyball at the high school. He goes into the school and sits there watching girls bounce. When he appeared at the meeting, he lied to everybody about what he did, using an imagination that fits his current situation, not what he did. If that doesn't explain to you what this guy's up to and what the real problem is, you're lost. He is a clear and present danger. I used to live in Arlington and I know it has similar issues at times, but probably not one of the parents at school... You're a sad lot if you think this just stuck up yuppies who want to believe they're too good to have this problem. Nobody should have this problem.
Will Allen January 03, 2014 at 09:30 AM
razdiak klimmestein: What??!!!! This guy watches girls play volleyball?! Are you kidding me? He must be a "clear and present danger"! Sorry razdiak, sandi g is correct, Mr. Peterson is not a problem and needs no more attention than any other person who is watching volleyball. Don't you watch your children? Are they fair game to anyone who isn't Mr. Peterson? It's ridiculous. People like Mr. Peterson should never be concerned with people like you. Sense is just not going to get through to people like you. But if you don't want to be an American, please move to a different country where you will fit in better. We don't need big government harassing people in this country.


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