79°F
weather icon Clear

Former school counselor accused of raping student

Updated March 31, 2021 - 7:45 pm

A former high school counselor who was arrested on lewdness charges in August has since been accused of raping a student in 2019.

William “Sterling” Peterson, 54, is charged with being a school employee in a position of authority engaging in sexual conduct with a pupil, sexual assault against a child, kidnapping of a minor and battery with intent to commit sexual assault, court records show.

Peterson is accused of raping an Arbor View High School student while he was employed as a counselor at the school, according to an arrest report from the Metropolitan Police Department.

The girl told police that Peterson was not her counselor but had offered to help her catch up on credits, because he was also a seminary teacher at her church. The girl said she decided to come forward after learning about Peterson’s August arrest.

She reported that in February 2019, Peterson had called her out of class to help her with an online credit-retrieval curriculum. After he set up her account, the girl told police Peterson shut the door to his office and hugged her, the report states.

Feeling uncomfortable, the girl told police she pushed Peterson away, at which point Peterson threatened to break her arm if she ever pushed him again, according to the report.

The girl told police she “froze in fear,” and that Peterson then pushed her to the ground and raped her in his office, according to the report. After the assault, he wrote her a “tardy note for her next class,” the report states.

Peterson was arrested in August after another girl told her church leader that Peterson was messaging her in online chat rooms, attempting to make sexual advances at her, including telling her “if she wanted to have sex, why wouldn’t it be with him?” the girl told police.

“He also informed the victim that she will most definitely get raped in her lifetime,” Peterson’s initial arrest report said.

In a message to parents in July, Arbor View Principal Kevin McPartlin said the initial lewdness charges did not stem from an interaction with a student and that Peterson was working from home.

The Clark County School District could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday evening, but McPartlin told police that Peterson retired in January.

Peterson’s lewdness charges were dropped in the first case. He was found guilty of coercion in January and sentenced to a year of probation.

He was arrested again March 23. Peterson is being held without bail and is scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing April 7.

Contact Sabrina Schnur at sschnur@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST