BOISE — Martin L. Peterson of Boise, a figure in Idaho politics for five decades, was arrested Thursday and charged with sexual exploitation of a minor.
A press release from Attorney General Lawrence Wasden’s office said that Peterson, 76, is alleged to have possessed sexually exploitative material. The investigation was performed by the Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children Unit, the Boise Police Department and the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office.
The Idaho statute under which Peterson is charged is quite broad and includes several specific offenses. The Ada County Prosecutor’s Office would not say Thursday what Peterson is alleged to have done. It would confirm only that he would be arraigned Friday afternoon.
Among other positions, Peterson served on U.S. Sen. Frank Church’s staff, on former Gov. Butch Otter’s transition team, as the executive director of the Association of Idaho Cities and on the Idaho Humanities Council, per his page on the Idaho Humanities Council website. He was also the budget director for former Govs. John Evans and Cecil Andrus, and has served as an assistant to several University of Idaho presidents.
Peterson, a Lewiston native and University of Idaho graduate, recently served on the University of Idaho’s School of Journalism and Mass Media advisory board, the Friends of Idaho Public Television board and as the president for the Foundation for Idaho History. He also was the director of U of I’s James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research.
The U of I declined comment on the situation.
Peterson has been a longtime community member of the Idaho Statesman’s editorial board. He has been removed from the board until this case has been adjudicated.
Peterson, who has written many guest columns for the Statesman, co-authored “Idaho 100: The People Who Most Influenced the Gem State.” He has written other books and also graduated from Columbia Basin College and Harvard University’s Senior Managers in Government Program.
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