GOP activist Greg Peterson's bail to remain at $2 million, judge rules
SALT LAKE CITY — Greg Peterson's bail will remain at $2 million.
Third District Court Judge Katherine Bernards-Goodman has denied a motion to have the Orem man's bail lowered to $750,000 despite Peterson's claims that it was raised unconstitutionally.
Following a two-day preliminary hearing in August, Judge Judith Atherton ordered the 37-year-old GOP activist to stand trial on 25 charges, including 23 felonies. He is accused of kidnapping, raping or assaulting women he met online — mostly on LDS dating sites — or at church functions.
At the end of that hearing, Atherton asked prosecutors if they wanted Peterson's bail raised. The defense contended that "there is no statutory authority for a court to modify bail on its own motion." Furthermore, they argued their client did not receive sufficient notice of a bail hearing, and there was no big change in his circumstances to warrant a bail modification.
Bernards-Goodman disagreed in her ruling about the change in circumstances, noting that more information came out during the preliminary hearing than what was outlined in the original charging documents.
According to the judge's ruling, that information includes:
• Peterson told one of his alleged victims that he "had connections to 'make a person disappear.'"
• He told another alleged victim that he "was a powerful politician and (she) believed he would use his power against her."
• Peterson also told that same woman he would get access to her medical records and find out everything about her.
• If the same alleged victim told anyone what had happened to her, he would make her "disappear" as well.
• Peterson attempted to gain trust of all his alleged victims by discussing his membership in the LDS Church and would show off his temple recommend.
Bernards-Goodman also ruled that a judge has the authority to raise bail on his/her own, and the defense could have raised bail issues during a July 25 hearing.
Peterson's attorneys have requested time to digest the ruling and to respond to it in writing.
His next court hearing is scheduled for Nov. 2. He is also charged in a separate case in Heber City's 4th District Court with forcible sex abuse, a second-degree felony.
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