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In a plea agreement in First Judicial District Court Nov. 17, former Los Alamos Middle School teacher Peter Bowman pleaded guilty/no contest to two counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor (school personnel) – both 4th degree felonies.
District Judge Stephen D. Pfeffer sentenced the 47-year-old father of three to three years of supervised probation and ordered him to register as a sex offender and to never be allowed to teach again.
“Mr. Bowman used his conditional discharge to avoid jail time,” said arresting officer Det. Sgt. Oliver Morris. “But he will go to jail if he violates his probation.”
Los Alamos Magistrate Court Judge Pat Casados conducted Bowman’s initial court hearing following his Aug. 4 arrest and said at the time that he faced up to three years in prison for each count and up to $5,000 in fines, if convicted.
Local police first became aware of a possible crime after a 14-year-old student came forward about her relationship with Bowman, Police Capt. Randy Foster said.
Det. Sgt. Oliver Morris obtained a search warrant for incoming and outgoing text and telephone messages between Bowman and the girl. Verbiage in 11,804 messages between the two corroborated the girl’s statement, Morris said. Bowman exchanged more than 4,000 of those text messages with the girl within a three-week period, according to court documents.
The conversations were sexual in content and depicted a personal relationship, according to court documents.
In one text message detailed in the documents, the girl asked Bowman’s permission to tell people that “Mr. Bowman” was her “boyfriend.”
Foster commended Morris, Det. Paige Early and other local police detectives involved in the case.
“This was a difficult case for our community and now that it’s over, the healing process can begin for all persons involved,” Morris said this morning.
Police arrested Bowman last August at his El Rancho home. Bowman worked at LAPS since 2006, according to Superintendent Gene Schmidt. He taught eighth grade social studies and a seventh and eighth grade Focus Class, which Schmidt explained is intended to be a skill-building course for students in need of a boost in a particular subject.
“Mr. Bowman is no longer an employee of the school district,” Schmidt said at the time. “He resigned his position on Aug. 17.”
The FBI had conducted Bowman’s background check and returned its findings in October 2006, Schmidt said, adding that the report showed no prior arrest record.