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.