A former UCSB researcher is scheduled to appear in court next month to set a date for a preliminary hearing on a felony charge of possession or control of child pornography involving illicit images allegedly found on his work computer.
Matthew Ferris Peterson, 41, appeared in court on Tuesday to set a date for a preliminary hearing, but the matter was continued until Feb. 28.
Prosecutors allege the defendant either possessed or controlled child pornograpy between Jan. 1, 2020 and June 29, 2022 that involved any sort of visual media — film, filmstrip, photograph, negative, slide, photocopy, videotape, video laserdisc, computer hardware, computer software, computer floppy disc, data storage media, CD-ROM or computer-generated image — that contained images of a person under age 18, “personally engaging in or simulating sexual conduct.”
He’s pleaded not guilty.
Mr. Peterson was arrested in June, reportedly at a home in Carpinteria, following an investigation by university police who allegedly found child pornography images on his university-issued computer.
Prosecutors said in their complaint that they intend to introduce evidence of any prior acts of sexual offenses committed by the defendant.
If convicted, Mr. Peterson could be sentenced to a year in jail, receive a fine and be required to register as a sex offender.