Minnesota Vikings’ Adrian Peterson Booked on Child Abuse Charges, Out on Bond

He won't play in Sunday's game against the Patriots, the Vikings said.

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was booked and released from a Texas jail early Saturday on a charge alleging that he spanked one of his sons with a wooden switch.

Peterson was processed at the Montgomery County jail, near Houston, and released on $15,000 bond, according to a sheriff's office spokesman, Lt. Brady Fitzgerald. He is charged with causing injury to a child age 14 or younger, allegedly by spanking one of his sons with a wooden switch, or tree branch, on or around May 18.

The star running back won't play in Sunday's game against the New England Patriots. Brian McCarthy, a spokesman for the league, said Saturday that Peterson's case "will be reviewed under the NFL's personal conduct policy."

The Vikings said they had deactivated Peterson for Sunday's game Friday evening, just after his lawyer and the Montgomery County sheriff's office confirmed he was charged with injury to a child.

It wasn't immediately clear if Peterson remained in Texas after leaving the jail or if he returned to Minnesota. There was no activity outside of his home near Houston and a man who answered the door at his home near Minneapolis told The Associated Press that Peterson wasn't there.

Peterson's lawyer Rusty Hardin said Friday his client had not meant to hurt the boy, whose age was not disclosed, and had cooperated with authorities.

"Adrian is a loving father who used his judgment as a parent to discipline his son. He used the same kind of discipline with his child that he experienced as a child growing up in east Texas," Hardin said.

A warrant was issued for Peterson's arrest Friday afternoon, a day after a grand jury indicted him, a Montgomery County Sheriff's Office spokesman said.

The Vikings acknowledged Peterson's "legal situation" in a statement but did not otherwise comment immediately, instead deferring to Peterson's lawyer.

At a news conference later Saturday, Phil Grant, a Montgomery County prosecutor, said the grand jury felt the charge was warranted after spending several weeks reviewing "lots of evidence."

"Obviously, parents are entitled to discipline their children as they see fit, except when that discipline exceeds what the community would say is reasonable," Grant said. "The grand jury looked at the injuries to this child and determined that discipline was not reasonable and did not reflect community standards of what was reasonable discipline."

Grant said "very sensitive information" gathered during the investigation was apparently leaked, including images of the child's injuries that have been circulating. He said child abuse investigations in Texas are confidential, and that his office is trying to determine the source of the leak.

The allegations came during a week in which the NFL has been under heavy criticism and scrutiny for the way it handled a domestic violence case involving former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and his then-fiancee.

An independent investigation headed by former FBI director Robert Mueller has been convened to look into the handling of the Rice situation. Commissioner Roger Goodell initially suspended Rice for just two games. After a longer version of security video surfaced on Monday revealing Rice's punch to the face of his now-wife, the Ravens released Rice and the league suspended him indefinitely.

Peterson is in his eighth season, all of them with the Vikings. Widely considered the best running back in the league, he has rushed for 10,190 yards and 86 touchdowns in his career. Peterson did not practice on Thursday because of what coach Mike Zimmer called a "veteran day," allowing experienced players to rest, but Peterson was at the team facility that day and spoke to reporters about the upcoming game against the Patriots.

He returned to practice on Friday and was in the locker room following the workout with the rest of his teammates for lunch. Shortly thereafter, Peterson posted a message on his Twitter account that said in part: "It's your season! Weapons may form but won't prosper! God has you covered don't stress or worry!"

Last season, not long after finding out that he had a 2-year-old son living in South Dakota, Peterson rushed to the hospital after the boy was brutally beaten by his mother's boyfriend. The boy died, and a 28-year-old man is scheduled to go on trial next month on second-degree murder charges in the case.

Peterson is a native of Palestine, Texas, about 100 miles southeast of Dallas.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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