Hennepin County opens second child protection case against Adrian Peterson


The Hennepin County Attorney has filed a child protection petition on behalf of a second child of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who pleaded no contest on Tuesday in Texas to a misdemeanor charge of recklessly injuring one of his children, a 4-year-old boy, with a switch.

In agreeing to the plea deal, Peterson avoided a felony abuse charge that could have landed him in jail.

Because Peterson was originally charged with a felony in that case, Minnesota law required opening up an investigation on Peterson and any children of his who live in Hennepin County, according to a news release.

The second child, another 4-year-old identified only as Child No. 2 in court documents, also lives in Hennepin County. There have been no allegations that Peterson has mistreated Child No. 2, and the county attorney describes the new child protection petition as "a technicality."

The county attorney filed a similar Child in Need of Protection or Services (CHIPS) petition in September for the boy involved in the abuse charge.

That boy and the second child have different mothers and do not live together. Peterson has fathered at least six children out of wedlock, according to media reports. He was married earlier this year.

According to the petition, Peterson is not allowed to have unsupervised contact with Child No. 2. The petition notes that the mother has been cooperative with county authorities and protective of the child, according to the news release.

The CHIPS petition filed on behalf of the boy involved in the abuse case called for a safety plan that includes no physical discipline, no unsupervised or unauthorized contact for Peterson with the boy, and the completion of a parenting assessment. Peterson would be required to follow the assessment’s recommendations.

Peterson faced charges in Texas, where he was accused of using a thin wooden branch stripped of its leaves, commonly called a switch, to discipline his son in July while they were staying at Peterson's off-season home there. The whipping left welts and marks on the boy's body which were still visible a week later.

Peterson claimed that he did not mean to harm the boy, and was only disciplining him in the way he was disciplined as a child.

As part of the plea agreement, Peterson was fined $4,000, ordered to perform 80 hours of community service and was placed on two years' probation.

It's not yet clear when Peterson might return to playing football. The NFL announced Thursday it will review Peterson's situation for potential discipline under the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy, now that the criminal portion of his case is over.

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