OGDEN -- Kevin George Peterson's factual innocence case has been resolved.
But officials will only say it's sealed. His would be the second case decided in Ogden under the statute that can pay wrongly imprisoned inmates in the six-figure range.
Peterson's lawyers hope their settlement can be made public next month, while the state's attorneys are declining comment.
After a roughly four-hour closed-door mediation session before 2nd District Judge W. Brent West, participants would only say the results are sealed.
West said the case now goes back to 2nd District Judge Scott Hadley, who will make the decision as to what parts of the settlement become public. Judges typically transfer mediation requests to other judges so the presiding judge can remain neutral if the mediation fails.
"All I can say is that it happened and the agreement is under seal," said Jason Richard, who with fellow Ogden lawyer Keith Henderson, represents Peterson.
"It was definitely polite," is all he could say of the tenor of the mediation with lawyers Scott Reid, Pat Nolan and David Carlson of the attorney general's office. Requests for comment through office spokesmen were not immediately returned. Richards said he believes some parts of the settlement can and will be made public and welcomes it.
Reid and Nolan head the division that is defending the state in at least half a dozen factual innocence lawsuits filed around the state.
Last year Debra Brown was released from the Utah State Prison under Utah's 2008 Factual Innocence statute, which lays out the process for suing the state for wrongful imprisonment. Ogden 2nd District Judge Michael DiReda freed her, finding her 1993 murder conviction in Logan unfounded.
In Brown's case, DiReda ordered the state to pay her more than $570,000 under the statute's compensation formula, likely the maximum, as it has a cap of 15 years on the number of years of lost income to be repaid. Her case is on appeal to the Utah Supreme Court, with no payment made to date. Officials have said they do not seek to return her to prison if DiReda's order is overturned.
Peterson would likely be in line for a similar maximum amount.
He did the full 15 years of a one- to 15-year prison term for child molestation because he refused to admit guilt to the State Board of Pardons.
Peterson, 54, formerly of West Haven, was sent to prison in early 1993 on charges alleging sexual contact short of rape. He moved back to the Ogden area when he was released from prison in November 2007.
His lawsuit includes sworn affidavits from Peterson's two children, who say they were coerced by their mother and stepfather to tell authorities their father sexually molested them. The son and daughter were 11 and 9 at the time.
Peterson pleaded no contest to the second-degree felony charges, meaning he denied guilt but couldn't defeat the state's evidence in the form of his children's testimony.
The whereabouts of the ex-wife and stepfather are unknown, and any prosecution of them would have statute-of-limitation problems.
Peterson's factual innocence trial, which had been set for August, was cancelled in June as the attorney general's office accepted the offer of mediation from Peterson's lawyers.