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Adrian Peterson Cops Plea in Child-Abuse Case

(CN) - Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson reached a plea deal with prosecutors Tuesday, reducing the felony child-abuse charges he faced for a single charge of reckless assault, a misdemeanor for which he'll pay a $4,00 fine and perform community service.

Peterson was indicted on Sept. 11, 2014, by a grand jury in Montgomery County, Texas, on charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child. He was accused of beating his 4-year-old son with a tree branch at his home in Spring, Texas, causing severe welts and bleeding on the child's back, legs, buttocks and genitals.

The Vikings initially responded to the charges by deactivating Peterson for a single game, but a firestorm erupted over his reinstatement at a time when the Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice's domestic-abuse case was roiling headlines. The NFL then placed the star athlete on the Exempt/Commissioner's Permission list, requiring him to stay away from all team activities.

Peterson appeared in court in Conroe, Texas, this morning, and pleaded no contest to the reduced charge. The hearing, before Judge Kelly Case, was over in minutes.

Standing outside the courthouse with his attorney, Rusty Hardin, Peterson told reporters, "I'm just glad this is over."

"I can put this behind me, and me and my family can begin to move forward," he said.

The NFL did not respond for a request for comment on how it will deal with the changes circumstances.

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