AYER -- A 66-year-old Level-3 sex offender from Townsend was ordered held on $350,000 cash bail after he pleaded not guilty to charges of child rape and molestation.

In Ayer District Court on Tuesday, George B. Peterson, 46 Mason Road, was arraigned on charges of rape of a child by force -- subsequent offense, indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 -- subsequent offense, and aggravated rape of a child, according to the Middlesex District Attorney's Office.

Peterson was arrested Monday in Townsend, but the details of the case were not immediately available.

As part of his bail conditions, Peterson was ordered to stay away from and have no contact with the alleged victim and victim's family.

Peterson's next court date is a pretrial conference Feb. 19.

In 2001, Peterson was convicted of rape and abuse of a child, indecent assault and battery of a child under 14 and indecent assault and battery on a person 14 or older.

According to published reports in The Sun, prosecutors said Peterson admitted to plying three boys with alcohol and then sexually assaulting them as they slept in his basement.

In 2001, Peterson was sentenced to four years in state prison followed by five years probation. He was prohibited from having any contact with the victims. He must also be evaluated and submit to sex-offender treatment if deemed necessary.


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Prosecutors stated in court documents that Peterson furnished the basement of his home with a bar, pool table, television, pull-out couch and three mattresses.

Nearly every weekend between 1994 and March 2000, Peterson was known to socialize with young boys in the basement, with the boys often staying overnight, prosecutors said.

One of the first victims was in the second grade when he first met Peterson. By age 10, the boy was spending almost every weekend at the Peterson home, according to court documents.

The boy told police that every time he spent the night, Peterson would give him alcohol until he passed out.

It was at that point, according to court documents, that the assaults would take place.

A second victim began sleeping over at Peterson's home when he was 5. By the time he was 8, the same scenario was played out, prosecutors said.

A third victim, who met Peterson when he was 12, shared a similar account. The three boys reported the assaults in March 2000 to Townsend police. When Peterson was questioned two months later, he allegedly admitted to the crimes.

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