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DA’s Office Addresses Adrian Peterson Case

In a Saturday afternoon press conference regarding the arrest of NFL player Adrian Peterson, Montgomery County First Assistant District Attorney Phil Grant addressed some of the issues that have been raised by the public and news media regarding the case.

“Number one, I want to point out that one of the most important duties that we have as district attorneys here in the State of Texas is protecting our children,” Grant said. “We take all allegations of abuse against children very seriously, and our office is well-known for the effective and aggressive prosecution of all those in our county that might injure our children.”

“On September 11, 2014, a Montgomery County grand jury indicted Adrian Peterson for the charge of Injury to a Child. The mental state that is reflected in the indictment is that he did so with criminal negligence or recklessly,” he said.

The charge is a state jail felony, punishable by up to two years in state jail, and a fine of up to $10,000. However, Grant said probation is also an option for those without a prior criminal record.

Peterson surrendered to authorities at the Montgomery County Jail in Conroe just after 1 a.m. Saturday and posted a $15,000 bond.

Grant said because the case is pending, he was very limited as to what information he could provide But he said in the State of Texas there’s what’s known as “reasonable discipline,” which can be used as a defense in some cases.

“Obviously, parents are entitled to discipline their children as they see fit, except for when that discipline exceeds what the community says is reasonable, ” he said.

Grant said the grand jury returned an indictment because they “looked at the injuries that were inflicted up this child and determined that the discipline was not reasonable and did not reflect the community standard of what was reasonable discipline.”

He also put to rest the rumors that another grand jury previously no-billed Peterson in the same case.

“I know it’s been widely reported this case was no-billed previously,” he said. “This case was presented to only one Montgomery County grand jury that after reviewing all the law and evidence in this case, chose to indict the case.”

“It was not shopped around to multiple grand juries. The same grand jury was the one that reviewed all the evidence and the law in this particular case, and the one that issued the indictment,” Grand said.

The evidence was presented over a period of weeks, he said.

Grant further answered a question a lot of people have regarding the now infamous photos of the child’s injuries and other documents that are circulating in the news media and online, calling them “a significant leak of very sensitive information.” He said leaking details of a child abuse case by someone acting in their official capacity is a crime in the State of Texas, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

“We are working with all of the agencies that had access to the official investigation file in this case,” Grant said. “All of them have committed to us that they are going to pursue aggressive investigation to determine what entity or what person might be responsible for leaking details and documents of photographs that were part of that confidential file, and it’s certainly something our office is going to take very seriously as well.”

“Mr. Peterson, as well as the State of Texas, is entitled to a fair trial,” Grant said. “That’s one of the reasons that the rules in the state of Texas limit what we can talk about pretrial, and why we won’t be publishing any of those photographs or offense reports from our office. It’s not permissible by law.”

Grant said in the next couple of weeks, Peterson will make a court appearance, but it will probably be next year before the case goes to trial because it is still in the preliminary stages.

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