The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Thursday, August 19, 2010
Ex-Idaho minister arrested for child sex abuse
Statement by Barbara Dorris, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell)
We're grateful this alleged cleric is in custody. Too often, law enforcement tends to tread lightly with accused ministers.
While all child sexual abuse is illegal and harmful, it's especially damaging when the offender poses as a 'man of God.'
We hope that every single person who saw, suspected or suffered Harman's crimes will call police, get help and start healing.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 22 years and have more than 9,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Peter Isely (414-429-7259), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell)
Co-leader of Mont. religious sect accused of rape
The co-leader of a religious sect that fled Utah and Idaho before coming to southern Montana is accused of having sex with a 15-year-old girl.
Rod Ostermiller, Montana's acting U.S. marshal, said 37-year-old Geody Harman was arrested in Fromberg, Mont., on Wednesday on a first degree rape warrant out of Salt Lake City. Harman is being held in the Yellowstone County jail on $250,007 bail.
"Due to the nature of the crime and the bond amount set, this is obviously somebody who was a priority," Ostermiller said.
Charging documents allege Harman had sex with the teen in Utah and that she told investigators another church leader encouraged her to do so because Harman was God. The documents say the girl reported having sex with Harman one time because she believed she would be blessed.
Harman, along with Terrill Dalton, lead the Fromberg-based Church of the Firstborn of the General Assembly of Heaven.
An arrest warrant also has been issued for Dalton, the church's president, and charges him with two felony counts of first degree rape. Charging documents say Dalton, who is in his 40s, had sex with the same girl as Harman after telling her "that if she had sex with him three times, (she) would be blessed."
The church moved to Fromberg from Idaho in September after claiming persecution. Church members initially fled to Idaho after federal agents raided their headquarters in Magna, Utah, 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. He 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 says 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.
Information from: Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests