A convicted sex offender arrested near a Casper school in early February was sentenced to a term of imprisonment earlier this week.

Natrona County District Court Judge Daniel Forgey sentenced 43-year-old Jason Ray Peterson to 18-24 months in prison after Peterson pleaded guilty to one count of failure to register as a sex offender.

Peterson was arrested last year after he arrived in Wyoming from Mississippi. He was taken into custody after spending five days in the state without updating his sex offender registry. State statute requires registration within three working days of entry.

Peterson could face additional jail time if found guilty of two misdemeanor charges brought against him in Circuit Court -- prohibited access to school facilities by an adult sex offender and criminal entry. Each crime is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of $750.

In that case, Peterson was arrested just 25 yards from a Casper elementary school after allegedly wandering around a neighborhood intoxicated.

A woman called police after she reportedly saw Peterson pulling on car door handles as he walked through the neighborhood. At one point, she saw him allegedly go into an open garage and look around.

She honked at him to scare him off, according to charging papers, and Peterson left the garage empty-handed.

Police stopped Peterson, who reportedly told them he was working with a Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation agent to "find some people in the area."

Peterson also allegedly said he was a registered sex offender, having been convicted in 1999 of one count of third-degree sexual assault of a minor.

He told police he had no idea that sex offenders are forbidden from being with 1000 yards of a school, and he did not know school was letting out at the time.

A jury trial in that matter is set for next week.

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