Father pleaded guilty for offering girls ride but says it was a 'good deed gone wrong'
An Arlington Heights, Illinois man, Rodney T. Peterson, was charged with disorderly conduct earlier this month after he offered two 13 year old girls a ride. Peterson was in an upscale neighborhood and claims he saw the girls while pumping gas at a Shell gas station and noticed they didn’t have coats or umbrellas during what he called a “snow storm.”
Police said the girls were wearing proper attire, donning winter coats and snow boots and reportedly produced evidence in court yesterday to support their claim. The girls claim Peterson’s offer made them uncomfortable so one of the girl’s copied Peterson’s license plate number and called the police. The incident happened around 3:15 pm.
Peterson’s police statement was as follows:
“The weather if you can recall on Friday march 2nd was a slushy mix of ice and rain. I had stopped at the Circle K gas station just down the street from my former employer to get gas as I still had errands to run, it was at the gas station, while I was waiting for my gas purchase to conclude, that I saw the two females leaving the gas station in the bad weather. I saw them for a whole of three seconds, just long enough to conclude that they had no umbrellas or anything and being a Christian God put it on my heart to offer them a ride because of the bad weather. They walked out of visual sight, I finished pumping my gas and then drove up to a residential street where I saw them again, I thought to myself if they did want a ride I would have to move one of my two children’s car seats that were in the back seat to make room, I slowed my vehicle to a stop, rolled down my passenger side window and asked them “do you have a long way to go?” I believe the response of one of them was “we’re okay” as she waved me to go on in which I replied “okay” rolled up my window and continued on my way.”
Peterson is a married father of three. His wife is pregnant with their fourth child, due in June. Peterson has come out publicly, responding to the suggestion that he was involved in a ‘stranger danger’ case. He claims he was simply trying to help the girls and only acted out of concern. Both the girls and Peterson acknowledge that when the girls declined his offer and waved him on, he immediately left the scene. Peterson’s wife has stood by her husband’s side previously commenting that the whole thing was completely misconstrued.
Yesterday however, Peterson pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge and was ordered to pay a fine of $400. Police claim that video surveillance shows Peterson scouting for the girls and driving down alleys to look for them. They also say that if Rodney felt the girls were in danger, he should have called the police, not asked them if they needed a ride.
The incident came on the heels of numerous ‘stranger danger’ occurrences in the area. A rash of men in vans trying to lure children into their vehicles has been reported since January 2012. Area schools have been sending emails to parents asking them to go over “stranger danger” prevention. Police currently have none of the suspects in custody.
There has been a lot of disagreement about the weather that day as well. Police say it was not snowing. The area has enjoyed an unusually mild winter. Reports from NBC weather tracking that day were:
“Heavy, wet snow sweeping across the Chicago area…Rain quickly turned to heavy wet snow across the west and north portions of the Chicago Metro area late this Friday afternoon turning wet streets slushy and turning the landscape white as large snowflakes quickly accumulated.”
The Barrington, Illinois area reportedly had an accumulation of about 3 inches by 5 pm that day.
An interview with Peterson and his family was conducted earlier this month by CBS Chicago. The Imperfect Parent tried to reach Peterson for a comment but he was unavailable.: