SAGINAW (WJRT) (2/8/2019) - The man accused of approaching young girls at four Saginaw bus stops has been in jail before for a variety of crimes.
"He has high severity felonies as part of his past," said Saginaw County Assistant Prosecutor Shelbee Sanborn. "He was on probation."
Willie Peterson, 43, was arraigned Friday on three new charges related to the bus stop incidents, which took place in January. Those charges are second-degree criminal sexual conduct, accosting a child for immoral purposes and indecent exposure by a sexually delinquent person.
"The sexually person aspect of the charge makes it up to a life offense," Sanborn said.
The Saginaw Police Department was investigating four incidents near Saginaw school bus stops in January, where a man attempted to grab a child in one incident, chased another student and made a lewd gesture to other children.
Through descriptions of the man and some surveillance video, police were able to identify the man's car and arrested Peterson on Tuesday.
"They told teachers, people at the school, they told their parents, which obviously aided police in their investigation in finding the suspect," Sanborn said.
Peterson has a lengthy criminal record going back to 1994, including armed robbery, assaulting a jail employee or escape and in 2017 a conviction for being a felon with a firearm. He was serving two years probation for that charge when the bus stop incidents occurred.
Sanborn said the information the children provided was crucial in putting police in the right direction.
"They were so specific in detailing the physical descriptions, which was great," she said. "They were very alert, observant, paying attention."
Peterson remained in the Saginaw County Jail after arraignment, where he is being held on a $250,000 bond.