Former contractor of Edwards Apple Orchard arrested for child sex abuse

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A man who was in charge of wagon rides at Edwards Apple Orchard has been arrested for alleged child sexual abuse.

Police say Peter E. Holland, 53, of Caledonia, was arrested Monday on 3 counts of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse of a victim between 13-17 years of age, stemming from alleged incidents that occurred to a juvenile female in the 8600 block of Belvidere Road in rural Winnebago County between April 1st, 2016 and March 31st 2018.

Holland was contracted at Edwards Apple Orchard in Poplar Grove, and was in charge of providing horse drawn wagon rides to children and guests. He was also employed by the Belvidere Township.

Edwards issued the following statement on Tuesday: “As soon as we were made aware of this individual’s booking, his position was immediately terminated. He was an outside contract(or) hired to provide wagon rides and will never again be allowed on this property. Due to his connection to the horse drawn wagon rides, we will no longer be able to offer wagon rides this season.”

Eyewitness News reached out to Belvidere Township for the status of Holland’s employment there. Township officials said they have no comment.

CORRECTION: Court records initially showed that the victim was under 5 years old. The information has since been updated.

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