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Update November 27, 2013- The BS is reporting that the poor man with “special needs”, falsely accused of being a child predator, had his case dismissed by the court, under the condition that he is not arrested again. There was no retraction or apology by the BS.
October 30th, 2013- By Steven E. Greer, MD
The local advertising flier, the Broadsheet (BS), reported on September 30th that a scary child abductor was caught and arrested while trying to lure away several children from the ballfields on Murray Street. The report claimed that some of the parents refused to press charges, which elicited strong condemnation from readers. The article was replete with mistakes and the truth is far less sensational. (The original BS article seems to have been removed from BS archives).
At the October 24th monthly community affairs meeting of the First Precinct, Commander Timoney explained that the man arrested was of “special needs”. The community affairs clarified that comment. It was based on the interactions with the police and not an official diagnosis. The police described the man as mentally challenged, and as “essentially homeless”.
The police also confirmed that the alleged perpetrator, 48 year old Luke Pettersen, has no prior criminal record related to child endangerment, and only has petty crimes on his record. Contrary to the BS reports, the man was not charged for any crimes relating to possession of a weapon. The BS report claimed the man had a hammer and rock in his duffel bag.
The original BS report written by Matt Fenton was subsequently clarified, “An earlier version of this story that appeared in the BroadsheetDaily on September 30 quoted police sources as saying that the parents of the children approached by Mr. Pettersen were unwilling to file a complaint. While this passage accurately reflected what police sources told the Broadsheet, it did not convey that the parents cooperated fully in the investigation. The Broadsheet regrets any misunderstanding.”
On October 30th, despite the First Precinct making the comments above six days prior, Mr. Fenton reported on the matter again, continuing to portray the incident as a serious child predator crime. The BS published, “The incident for which Mr. Miner and Ms. Pearlman were commended involved Luke Pettersen, 48, of Brooklyn, who was arrested on September 27 after he allegedly engaged five young boys (ages ten to 12) in conversation at the ball fields, and then allegedly attempted to convince one or more of them to leave with him. He briefly departed the ball fields and walked to Rockefeller Park, where he is believed to have approached other children, before returning to the ball fields. After Parks Conversancy staff notified PEP officers, they called police, who later found a hammer and a rock among Mr. Pettersen’s possessions. He was charged with five counts of endangering the welfare of a child, and one count of criminal possession of a weapon. (Mr. Pettersen is believed to have loitered near the ball fields and engaged children in conversation on a least one prior occasion.) He was later released without bail and is now awaiting his next court date on November 4.”
Of note, the next court date is November 14th, not November 4th.
For accurate reporting on crime and other matters, stay tuned to BatteryPark.TV. “We inform”.