Greg Peterson: Utah Mormon GOP Activist Charged with Kidnapping, Beating & Raping Four Women in Cabin He Used for Political Fundraisers
Photos and video after the jump.
This story is so big (wait until you see who he’s been palling around with), we could spend all night writing a comprehensive entry — so, for now, we’ll just give you a skeleton outline of everything we know so far, and follow up as more details emerge:
Currently in custody at Salt Lake County Jail on $750,000 bail, Gregory Nathan Peterson, 37, of Orem, Utah, is a certified financial planner and owner, Peterson Wealth Management, LLC, Orem; CEO, Smartstocks.com, “a live stock game using real stock quotes”. (“[H]e advised my husband and I [sic] to purchase our new home with a No-Interest loan and put the rest of the money in the stock market. I told him that I thought that was foolish and he told me I lacked a sophisticated background to understand the benefits of using a Non-Interest Loan (I too have my MBA in finance) I am so glad I didn’t listen to Greg and changed investment brokers. …” — Wealthadvisor.com)
Mitt Romney and Greg Peterson
Peterson is charged with 23 felony and two misdemeanor counts of kidnapping and raping four women (minus a fifth whose case Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill declined to pursue, due to lack of strong evidence) he “met online and at church functions,” whom he allegedly held captive at his cabin (where he staged GOP political fundraisers), threatened with guns, physically assaulted, and raped:
• felony rape, seven counts
• felony object rape, three counts
• felony aggravated kidnapping, two counts
• felony forcible sodomy
• felony forcible sexual abuse, nine counts
• felony burglary
• misdemeanor assault
• misdemeanor sexual battery
Mormon. Brigham Young University, Class of 1999; dean’s scholar, Marriott School of Management. Appears to be co-founder, “Divine Comedy” sketch group.
Attended LDS singles ward in Sandy, Utah.
Image from video for “Rocky Mountain Conservatives 3rd Annual Convention & BBQ.” Saturday, May 19, 2012. No longer online; watchable (for now) via cache.
2012 line-up announced on the video: Senator Mike Lee, Congressman Jason Chaffetz, (Arizona) Governor Jan Brewer, (Utah) Governor Gary Herbert, Matt Kibbe, Daniel Bongino, Mia Love, Dan Liljenquist, Chris Stewart, Trevor Loudon, Carl Wimmer, “and many more!”
Was registered with Mormon dating sites LDSSingles.com and LDSLinkup.com.
Dating profile “stated that he had a LDS temple recommend and served an mission to Venezuela and also noted in his profile that he ‘regularly attends church.’ … ‘I have open heart to all situations and circumstances, so long as you want to have a family and bring that family back to God.’” — Deseret News
Most or all alleged victims were young Mormon women.
“On June 12, 2012, a woman filed a civil stalking injunction against Peterson in 3rd District Court and asked for a protective order. On July 9, the injunction was granted. As part of the ruling, Peterson denied the stalking allegations against him but stipulated to the protective order, according to court records.” — Deseret News
“[Peterson] held political events at his cabin in Heber City, 10160 E. Ridge Pine Drive, the same place where prosecutors allege he took at least two of his victims after kidnapping them and then raped them. One of those attacks, according to investigators, happened just one day after a political event.” — Deseret News
“Before the June 26 GOP primary, he organized a debate at a Utah high school for two Republicans vying for Utah attorney general. Jon Swallow, the chief deputy attorney general, won the primary over Salt Lake City lawyer Sean Reyes.” — AP
Reportedly a Tea Party activist (although it has been suggested that Utah Republicans are pushing the “Tea Party” label in order to paint Peterson as something out on the fringe of the GOP, rather than an insider). “Utah Republicans say Peterson got involved with the tea party and organized a group called Rocky Mountain Conservatives.” — AP
Greg Peterson and Marco Rubio, frontrunner for Romney’s VP pick
“Peterson organized the first Rocky Mountain Conservatives Convention and Barbecue in 2010 at the Heber cabin as a way to mend fences after a bruising U.S. Senate primary between Tim Bridgewater and Lee, who went on to win the seat. The next year, about 300 people attended the event. This year, he touted the event as the ‘CPAC of the West,’ referring to the national Conservative Political Action Committee that draws thousands of activists to Washington, D.C., each year. It featured a debate between attorney general candidates John Swallow and Sean Reyes at Wasatch High and a keynote address by Lee. Political luminaries — including [Senator Orrin Hatch, Utah Governor Gary Herbert, U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz and 4th District congressional contender Mia Love], as well as numerous state legislators — have attended the event.” — Salt Lake Tribune
“Elected officials and others in the valley are choosing their words carefully when talking about him. From Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, to Gov. Gary Herbert, to local legislators, they all have had some encounter with Peterson, a 37-year-old political gadfly who has been photographed with most of them.” — Daily Herald
“Sen. Mike Lee distanced himself from a Republican fundraiser in his home state of Utah on Thursday after learning the man, who had hosted events the senator attended, was accused of raping four women. … Almost immediately after the Salt Lake Tribune reported news of the arrest on Thursday morning, videos and photos of Lee and Peterson surfaced on the internet. They all appeared to be taken at events at the fundraiser’s cabin. In one photo, posted to Flickr by Utah businessman and Tenth Amendment advocate Michael Jolley, the two men can be seen standing shoulder to shoulder. In a video that appears to have been posted to YouTube by Peterson long before his arrest, Lee is shown hitting golf balls into a lake near the fundraiser’s cabin.” — TPMMuckraker
Meanwhile, the denial and conspiracy theories begin… In response to a post on the Facebook page for the “3rd Annual Rocky Mountain Conservatives Convention & BBQ,” close Peterson associate Darcy Van Orden linked to the Salt Lake Trib article about Peterson’s arrest, and asked: “Thoughts”? Some of the responses:
Bonnie Rokes Pence: We don’t need to jump to conclusions. Greg is a nice guy, a business man, political activist and has done a lot of good for the Republican party. He’s a good friend to many. I hope these charges are false.
Mark Terran Kraig: I’m not saying I don’t think it happened. I’m just recognizing that false accusations — yes, even multiple, coordinated false accusations — have been known to happen. Hence the importance of a fair trial where all of the facts are considered.
Jason Crane: I knew Greg personally, the man that I knew, would not have done such a thing, I hope it is not true, but I cannot say that people do not change either. That’s a lot of charges… :(
Bryan Lyman: Would someone please do background checks to see if the four accusers are on the take for the democratic party? I am not saying he is guilty or innocent, but I would like to know if this is just a move to get him out of the way. … The Dems have billions of dollars and you can buy a lie for a couple thousand, it is cheap to get people to lie for you and it happens A LOT. …
A few are sensible:
Phoenix Roberts: Final thought — leaving the group.
Joni L. Hilliard-Crane: Am now leaving group too, last one out please turn off the lights
Jordan Linford: One accuser coming forward is suspect, two coming forward could still be false, but four separate accusers all who did not know each other? Sounds pretty damning.
Kristin Portolese-Petersen: ?Bryan Lyman Did you even watch the news tonight to see all the women that were also approached by Greg and had bad experiences? Anyone who met him could see that he was “more than a little off” After witnessing his obnoxious and unAmerican behavior at our caucus I reported him as someone who could hurt the GOP. I am leaving this group after these last two comments. George Hodgson Zinn if you think taking a women to a cabin (when she thought she was going to dinner) beating her and assaulting her is a fringe benefit than maybe people should be wary of you as wel! … Greg is not that important of a guy (except for maybe in his own mind) that the Dems would waste their money or time. Clearly, those in office have scrambled to distance themselves from him. You have not met him, I have. Did not occur to me that he was a criminal…just more of a guy who was very full of himself and contridicted himself and thought it was ok to text during the Pledge of Allegiance while standing 3 feet away from some boy scouts. Needless to say I was unimpressed.
Some are disgusting:
George Hodgson Zinn: Greg didn’t let me know there were fringe benefits at the BBQ or I would have wanted to go….
Some are curious:
Loma Lee Mckinnon: Looks like the second shoe finally dropped.
And some are downright damning — and deserving of the question: “Then why didn’t you say anything?”
Darcy Van Orden: I beleive [sic] in innocent until proven guilty. On a side note, I have been hearing about this for months and also know enough people who Greg has displayed very inappropriate behavior with. I also know a man who knows one of victims, I absolutely believe [sic] Greg is capable of this but we will let the courts decide!
Why did it take so long for the rapes to be reported? Good, old fashioned police
dumbf—erycombined with a hearty sprinkling of oblivious assholes not doing anything about it. Peterson’s alleged victims reported the crimes to law enforcement officials in various Utah counties, but it seems that no one did anything about him until the Salt Lake City department led an investigation into Peterson’s extracurriculars this year. A fifth victim approached police, but no charges were filed after prosecutors thought that they couldn’t prove that the woman didn’t consent to the sexual contact. And, of course, there were rumors. But no one did jack squat about anything.
Brandon Beckham, a state delegate who had done videography work for Peterson, said he learned of the rape allegations from a few women several months ago and warned GOP candidates to steer clear of Peterson while he got authorities involved.
“It didn’t surprise me at all,” said Beckham.
Beckham said that one of Peterson’s accusers was in the country on a visa and Beckham said that Peterson told her that if she went to police his political friends could get the visa revoked and have her kicked out of the country.
“I thought, ‘Wow, I can’t have a guy in politics like this,’ and we were just determined to make sure justice was served because they needed help and support of some kind,” Beckham said.
“I’m extremely disturbed,” said Darcy Van Orden, a conservative activist who had attended Peterson’s barbecues in the past. “I believe in innocent until proven guilty, but having talked to several people and heard a lot of allegations about this for basically the last six months, I was kind of waiting to see this thing play itself out.”
Yeah, best to let things play out when you hear rumors floating around that a guy who you sometimes party with is going around kidnapping and raping people. Excellent human-ing, conservative activist Darcy Van Orden.
— Erin Gloria Ryan
“Prominent Republican Fundraiser Allegedly Also Quite Gifted at Rape”
Jezebel, July 19, 2012
Still online (at least until he’s free to delete them):
• Peterson’s YouTube channel
• Peterson’s Twitter account: petersongreg
• Peterson’s RMConservatives Twitter account: RMConservatives
• Peterson’s Smartstocks.com Twitter account: Smartstocks.com
• Peterson’s Rocky Mountain Conservatives Facebook
• Peterson’s Google+ account: Greg Peterson
• Peterson’s Smartstocks.com Google+ account: smartstocks.com
• Co-chair, Romney event, 2007
• LDS Liberty (“Advancing the cause of liberty in light of the restored gospel”); audio (“Greg Peterson, a close personal friend of the Romney family, discusses why liberty loving Latter-day Saints should support Mitt Romney for president. Greg expounds upon the fundamental principles Mitt will adhere to when making presidential decisions. Jeremy and JC question Greg on Mitt’s stance on key issues including government health care, income taxes, abortion, immigration, undeclared wars, the American empire, social security and the Federal Reserve.”)
• Discussion, Cougarboard.com
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