Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Montana sect leader waives extradition to Utah on rape charge

Montana sect leader waives extradition to Utah on rape charge
The Associated Press

Updated 57 minutes ago Updated Aug 25, 2010 06:13AM

The leader of a Montana religious sect arrested last week in Wyoming has waived extradition to Utah, where he faces charges of raping a 15-year-old girl.

Terrill Dalton, 43, appeared in Hot Springs County Circuit Court in Thermopolis, Wyo., on Monday and agreed to return to Utah. Dalton’s bail remained at $250,000.

Dalton surrendered to authorities Thursday near Thermopolis, a day after federal agents arrested another church leader, Geody Harman, 37, in Fromberg. Both men are accused of raping the same 15-year-old girl in Utah in 2005 or 2006.

The Church of the Firstborn and the General Assembly of Heaven moved to Fromberg from Idaho in September after their proposal to build a three-story, 18,000-square-foot motel-like building on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation was rejected by the Shoshone and Bannock tribes. About 16 church members moved to rental property near Fromberg, including Harman, his wife and their nine children.

Church members fled to Idaho after federal agents raided their Utah headquarters in Magna in May 2009 to investigate claims of sexual abuse and assassination threats against President Barack Obama, former President George W. Bush and the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Thomas S. Monson.

Dalton told The Billings Gazette in March that investigators did not find anything and no one had been charged. Her said the allegations were invented by a rival church member who was involved in a child custody dispute with Dalton’s wife. They are now divorced.

Dalton has said that he grew up as a Mormon but received a revelation in 2004 — in which Jesus Christ called him the Holy Ghost — that he should start a new church.

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