Hennepin County filed a court petition Friday seeking protection for Adrian Peterson’s 4-year-old son after he was allegedly abused by the Vikings running back in May.
The petition asked a judge to approve a safety plan for the child, including that Peterson have no unsupervised or unauthorized contact with the child, and that he refrain from any “corporal punishment and/or physical discipline.”
Counties file child protection petitions when they need a juvenile court judge’s authority to protect a child. Judges can order children to be removed from a parent’s custody, but that has not happened in this case.
Hennepin County requested and received an order postponing the child protection proceedings until Peterson’s criminal charges are resolved.
The child’s mother has been “fully cooperative” with Hennepin County child protection and has not allowed any contact between Peterson and the boy, following a request made by the county, the petition said.
According to the petition, Peterson admitted during interviews with child protection and police in Texas that he twice hit his 4-year-old son, once with a belt and once with a switch.
Peterson told the authorities he saw the marks on the child after hitting him with the branch.
The boy was taken for a well-child check in Minnesota on May 22, about four days after the alleged abuse, and the child showed his “owies.” A doctor photographed several skin injuries, including bruising and visible cuts and slash marks on his right thigh, a bruise and abrasion on his scrotum and switch marks on his back.
When asked what happened, the child responded, “I got whooped by a switch,” the petition said.
On May 23, the child was seen at the Midwest Children’s Resource Center in St. Paul, where an exam revealed “multiple skin injuries.”
On May 29, the boy was seen again at the Children’s Resource Center for a forensic interview, where he said Peterson hit him with a switch and belt and “that it hurt.”
The petition does not name the mother or the child after the judge sealed that information at the request of the mother’s attorney.
A Texas grand jury indicted Peterson on Sept. 12 for felony injury to a child. His first scheduled court appearance in that case is Oct. 8.
In a statement, Hennepin County Mike Freeman said his office filed the petition to comply with state law.
“State law requires us to file an action in child protection court when charges are filed in criminal court alleging serious injuries against a child living in Hennepin County,” Freeman said.
“Our own internal investigation has revealed that the injuries were serious enough to meet the legal threshold and, as a result, we have filed a Child in Need of Protection and Services petition (CHIPS) in Hennepin County District Court this afternoon. Due to state privacy laws, as well as the understandable desire of the mother to protect her child’s privacy, we will not comment further on this petition.”
Earlier this week, Freeman told the Star Tribune that if his agency receives “any credible concerns” that the child allegedly abused by Peterson could be hurt again by him, “we would take active steps to make sure that would not occur.”
The county also is asking a judge to order Peterson to cooperate with child protection, sign releases for service providers and complete and follow recommendations from a parenting assessment.
Typically, child protection petitions include parents’ past contacts with child protective services. However, there was no history included in Hennepin County’s petition on Peterson.
“Adrian is very willing to continue cooperating with authorities in every way in order for them to conclude he is a good parent,” Rusty Hardin, Peterson’s lawyer, said in a statement.
Attorneys for the child’s mother did not respond to a request for comment on Hennepin County’s child protection petition.