Detectives believe an 85-year-old Spokane Valley man has raped and molested numerous young girls since the 1950s and was never prosecuted.
Marvin E. Petersen was arrested last week after detectives spent months interviewing alleged victims, including a neighbor and current and former relatives, according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office. Court documents say the alleged victims were between 4 and 13 years old when they were abused.
Detectives interviewed at least nine victims and witnesses, most of whom are related to Petersen. Court documents say a woman and her daughter reported Petersen to police in Eugene, Oregon, in 1969, but officers discouraged them from testifying in court, citing the victim’s “well-being.”
Records of those allegations have since been destroyed, and Petersen has no apparent conviction history, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Petersen now faces two counts of first-degree child rape as well as charges of child molestation and unlawful imprisonment. He’s being held in the Spokane County Jail on a $100,000 bond.
Petersen’s residence is in the 13900 block of East Sixth Avenue, and detectives believe he may have other victims. The Sheriff’s Office urged anyone with information about his activities to call Detective Brandon Armstrong at (509) 477-6610.