Kenneth Raymond Peterson was arrested Tuesday by Bentonville Police on charges of sexual indecency with a child. According to an arrest report, Peterson, 58, met the 10-year-old boy when his family was staying at the Bentonville shelter earlier this fall where he worked as a housing monitor.
The boy's mother told a social worker for Bentonville Schools she was believed he may have been sexually abused by Peterson and the case was turned over to the Children's Advocacy Center then police, according to the report. According to the affadavit, Peterson admitted he had sleepovers in the same bed with the child but denied any sexual contact.
A background check revealed Peterson was charged with indecent solicitation of a child in 1982 in Kansas. Peterson told investigators the charge was related to a house party he threw that involved drugs and alcohol and a 13-year-old "strip-teasing".
Police say Peterson has lived in Bentonville for more than 20 years and has been involved in youth sports. They ask that anyone who may have other information about "suspicious activity or circumstances involving Peterson" should call the department at 479-271-3170.
The Salvation Army of Northwest Arkansas released the following statement on Thursday, following the arrest:
The Salvation Army is aware of the allegations and we are and will cooperate fully with the authorities. We express deep concern for the child involved; our prayers are with him and his family. The Salvation Army does not tolerate sexual misconduct or improprieties; the employee in question has been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation. It is our standard practice to do background checks on all employees and we are conducting a thorough internal investigation in this case.