The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Thursday, August 19, 2010
Ex Utah clergyman arrested on child sex charges
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 10,000 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)
Church of Firstborn president and first counselor charged in girl’s rape
The president and the first counselor of a church formerly located in Magna were charged Wednesday with raping a 15-year-old girl in 2005 and 2006.
Terrill Dalton, the president of the Church of the Firstborn of the General Assembly of Heaven, was charged in 3rd District Court with two counts of first-degree felony rape, charging documents state. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.
Dalton, 43, who now lives in Fromberg, Mont., allegedly told the girl that he had an “impression” from God that God wanted them to have sex three times. He said if she had sex with him she would be blessed, charging documents state.
Geody Harman, first counselor of the Holy Ghost of the Church of the Firstborn of the General Assembly of Heaven, was also charged with one count of first-degree felony rape.
Harman, 37, of Fromberg, Mont., told the girl he had an impression from God that she was to have sex with him, too, charging documents state. Dalton allegedly told the girl that Harman was God and agreed that she should have sex with him.
The girl told Unified Police Department detectives that she had sex once with both men between September 2005 and January 2006.
Dalton and Harman led a religious sect that fled Utah and Idaho before moving to southern Montana.
Rod Ostermiller, Montana’s acting U.S. marshal, said Harman was arrested in Fromberg, Mont., on Wednesday on the first-degree rape warrant out of Utah. Harman is being held on $250,000 bail. Dalton is still at large.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
2 leaders of church charged in teen's rape
Published: Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2010 9:32 p.m. MDT
MAGNA — Two leaders of the religious sect Church of the First Born and the General Assembly of Heaven were charged Wednesday with the rape of a teenage girl in 2005 after telling her they were following instructions from God.
The girl told police that Terrill Dalton, the church's president who claims to be the Holy Ghost, had received an "impression" from God the he and the girl were supposed to have sex three times, according to the charges filed in 3rd District Court.
From September 2005 to January 2006, Dalton allegedly told the girl that if she would be blessed if she did so.
Dalton, 43, also told the teen he had an impression from God that she was to have sex with Geody Harman, who has the title of First Counsel of the Holy Ghost, the charges state.
The girl told police she did have sex with both Dalton and Harman, 37, one time because "she believed she would be blessed," according to the charges.
Although the alleged victim, who was 15 at the time, was interviewed by police about the allegations last year, she didn't disclose the rape until recently, said Unified Police Lt. Don Hutson.
The sect was organized in 2001 in Magna but came under scrutiny in 2009 after former church member Michael Stevenson made accusations that Dalton and his group were sexually abusing children and plotted to assassinate Barack Obama, George W. Bush, LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson and others, according to news reports at the time.
The accusations prompted a raid by the Secret Service, FBI and child protective services into the group's shared dwelling in Magna. The raid apparently produced no evidence of such plots, and the Secret Service closed its case, the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office reported at the time.
The group relocated to tribal reservation land in eastern Idaho and then to Montana after Indian tribal leaders demanded that the sect leave.
Both men were charged with rape, a first-degree felony. Dalton also faces a second charge of rape for being a party to rape. Arrest warrants were issued for both Harman and Dalton. Officials in Montana arrested Harman Wednesday, and extradition proceedings will begin to bring him to Utah. Police are continuing to look for Dalton.
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Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests