A 20-year-old resident of the Sea View Adolescent Center on St. Thomas was jailed on first-degree rape and unlawful sexual contact charges after a Saturday night incident at the facility in Estate Bolongo.
Brett Petersen is accused of taking a 17-year-old female into the seclusion room and having sexual intercourse with her against her will.
Police Detective Maria Brown testified in a court hearing Monday morning that she spoke with the victim at the Roy L. Schneider Hospital shortly after the incident. She said the girl told her she had been too scared to resist when Petersen took her into the isolated area of the center and had sex with her.
"She did not consent for Mr. Petersen to have sex with her," Brown testified in response to questioning by Assistant Attorney General John Wilks. Brown said the victim was scared "that Petersen would hit her or harm her if she did not comply with his wishes to have sex with him."
A medical examination revealed physical evidence that a rape occurred, Brown testified.
Public Defender Brenda Scales asked Judge Ishmael Meyers to dismiss the charges, saying that the government had not presented evidence that Petersen forced the girl into having sex with him. "The government did not present evidence that he physically or verbally did anything to engage her in the act," Scales said.
Wilks, a prosecuting attorney at the V.I. Justice Department, quoted from the Virgin Islands Code as he argued that an incident is considered rape if resistance is prevented by fear of injury or bodily harm.
Judge Meyers found probable cause to support Petersen's arrest and ordered him into custody at the Bureau of Corrections. The judge also ordered that a psychiatric evaluation be conducted before Petersen is allowed to post bail, which was originally set at $75,000.
Meyers supported the government's motion to seal the case file because the victim's name is used in several documents including the probable cause fact sheet.