Arlington Heights man who offered girls ride pleads guilty

An Arlington Heights man pleaded guilty Monday to misdemeanor disorderly conduct for alarming two 13-year-old girls in Barrington by offering them a ride home March 2, police said.

But Rodney T. Peterson, 33, continued to proclaim his innocence afterward, saying he agreed to a sentence of two years’ supervision and $400 fine so that legal proceedings would not hold up his family’s planned move from the Chicago area next month.

“I’m sorry that they were alarmed,” said Peterson, who also agreed to no further contact with the girls. “I had nothing but good intentions.”

Police and one of the girl’s parents Monday said evidence presented in court contradicts Peterson’s version of events.

They said video from a nearby business’ surveillance camera show that, contrary to Peterson’s claims, it was not snowing when he approached the girls, nor were they were improperly dressed for winter weather. Peterson has said he offered a ride to the girls because he believed they weren’t prepared for the inclement conditions at the time.

Barrington police have praised the girls for turning down Peterson’s offer of a ride and immediately reporting his approach.

Peterson’s actions met the village’s definition of disorderly conduct, Barrington Police Chief Jerry Libit said.

Peterson said his instinct was to fight the charges, but he feared that would hold up his plans to move with his pregnant wife and three children.

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