Steven Peterson, executive director at Portsmouth, R.I.-based Be Great for Nate, a youth empowerment and youth suicide prevention organization, was arrested on and charged with indecent solicitation of a child, according to published reports.
Peterson allegedly solicited a lewd photograph from a 15-year-old. Peterson was arraigned on but did not enter a plea, which is not unusual for felony cases initially presented in District Court.
Court papers for the case were not available through the Rhode Island Judiciary website at deadline.
The Newport Daily News reported that Peterson posted bail, which had been set at $10,000 by District Court Judge Colleen Hasting. Peterson is scheduled to be back in court in April, according to the website for NBC affiliate WJAR.
While Be Great for Nate’s website was stripped of Peterson’s presence, as of midday March 18 he was still listed as an option on the organization’s phone system. Messages left for him, as well as in a general mail box, along with an email, were not returned by deadline.
Peterson’s presence was similarly removed from the website of Newport Mental Health, a nonprofit that offers therapy and psychiatric services. Peterson had served on the organization’s boards of directors.
Similarly, Peterson is no longer listed on the board of directors’ page for Horizon Healthcare Partners, a consortium of nonprofit healthcare agencies that serves Rhode Island residents.
According to an Internet archived copy of Peterson’s Be Great for Nate bio, “Peterson has been the executive director of Be Great For Nate Inc. and program director of ESI [Every Student Initiative, a monthly youth suicide prevention and life skills program] since they began in June of 2018.”
Several news outlets reported that Be Great for Nate officials had been in contact with students and families associated with the nonprofit. According to reports, Be Great for Nate had severed its relationship with Peterson.
Be Great for Nate was formed in June 2018 after the suicide of 15-year-old Nathan Bruno earlier that year. It does not have any Form 990s on file with GuideStar by Candid.