Man involved in youth football facing child exploitation charges

Peterson has been charged with lewd and lascivious conduct after being accused of exploiting a...
Peterson has been charged with lewd and lascivious conduct after being accused of exploiting a 14-year-old minor.(Bay County Jail)
Published: Aug. 24, 2022 at 11:48 AM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A man allegedly affiliated with multiple youth football associations in Bay County is facing charges related to the exploitation of a 14-year-old.

Investigators say they interviewed the 14-year-old victim, who says they had been in contact with 31-year-old Zackary Peterson online as well as in-person.

The victim went on to state that Peterson asked him to allegedly send inappropriate pictures and touched the victim in a sexual manner at least once. Officials say they found out Peterson was also purchasing things for the child, and sending him money through an online app.

When Peterson was interviewed, he said he was joking with the victim, but when officials said they looked at his phone, an inappropriate image of the victim was found.

Peterson was taken to Bay County Jail, where he has been charged with lewd or lascivious conduct and use of a computer to solicit a child for a sexual act.

The Panama City man will make first appearance Wednesday in front of a Bay County judge. The investigation is currently ongoing and additional charges are expected.

Because Peterson was reportedly involved with youth football associations around the area, Bay County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone who has concerns their child may have been victimized to call their Criminal Investigations Division, and ask for Lt. Jeremy Mathis, Cpl. Jake McGowin, or Investigator Jake Roberts at 850-747-4700.