NFL Vikings’ Adrian Peterson turns himself in on child abuse charges

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(CNN) — NFL running back Adrian Peterson turned himself in to authorities in Texas early Saturday, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said.

Shortly after, Peterson was freed on a $15,000 bail, authorities said.

A grand jury indicted him on a felony charge of injury to a child, spurring the county sheriff’s office to issue a warrant for his arrest.

Authorities didn’t divulge details Friday about what led to the charge.

But Peterson’s lawyer said the “charged conduct involves using a switch to spank his son” — explaining that his client did so while doling out discipline “much like “he experienced as a child growing up in east Texas.”

“Adrian never intended to harm his son and deeply regrets the unintentional injury,” Rusty Hardin said

He described him as a loving father.

“(Peterson) will continue to insist on his innocence of any intended wrongdoing,” the lawyer said.

Hardin claims that his client has “cooperated fully with authorities and voluntarily testified before the grand jury for several hours.”

“Adrian will address the charges with the same respect and responsiveness he has brought to this inquiry from its beginning,” the lawyer said.

Right after news broke of the indictment, the Vikings released a statement saying they were “in the process of gathering information regarding the legal situation.”

The team came back a short time later to announce that its offensive catalyst has been deactivated for Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots.

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson turned himself into Texas police early Saturday on charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child. (Photo: CNN)

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson turned himself into Texas police early Saturday on charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child. (Photo: CNN)

According to Texas law, a person can be convicted of an injury to a child offense if they are proven to have caused bodily or mental injury “intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or with criminal negligence” or causing such harm by omission. A child, by this definition, must be 14 years old or younger.

The alleged criminal offense took place in Montgomery County, which is north of Houston.

The 29-year-old Peterson grew up in Palestine, Texas, which is 150 miles north of Houston and 100 miles southeast of Dallas.

A running back for the Vikings since 2007, he rushed for 75 yards in his team’s season-opening 34-6 rout of the St. Louis Rams.

Last year, his 2-year-old son died after allegedly being abused by another man.

Authorities in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, found that child unresponsive, and later determined he’d suffered injuries to his head consistent with abuse.

News of Peterson’s indictment casts another shadow over the NFL, which is reeling from the fallout over then-Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice allegedly punching his then-fiancee Janay Palmer in a casino elevator.