FROMBERG, Montana — A leader of a transplanted Utah religious sect accused of raping a 15-year-old girl was arrested in Wyoming Thursday after peacefully surrendering to law enforcement officials, a day after a fellow church leader was arrested at their compound near here.
Terrill Dalton, 43, was arrested on a warrant issued by authorities in Salt Lake City on two counts of first-degree rape. Dalton is the president of the Holy Ghost of the Church of the Firstborn of the General Assembly of Heaven, a group of former Mormons who fled Utah last year after federal authorities raided their headquarters.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Marshals Service went to the church’s new headquarters near Fromberg looking for Dalton and Geody Harman, who describes himself as First Counsel of the church.
Harman, 37, was arrested at the property on a Utah warrant charging him with the rape of the same 15-year-old girl. Dalton could not be found.
On Thursday at about 4:45 p.m., the Hot Springs County Sheriff’s Department arrested Dalton near Thermopolis, Wyo. Acting Montana U.S. Marshal Rod Ostermiller said he was picked up after calling authorities, telling them where he was and then surrendering.
Dalton, who claims to be the Holy Ghost and the father of Jesus Christ, would have been arrested on the warrant if he remained in Montana, Ostermiller said.
Church leader’s daughter comes forward as the rape victim
The daughter of a leader of a Fromberg-based religious sect accused of raping a 15-year-old girl identified herself as the victim in an interview Wednesday with KSL-TV, an NBC affiliate station in Salt Lake City.
Terrill Dalton, 43, was arrested Thursday on a warrant issued by authorities in Salt Lake City on two counts of first-degree rape. Dalton is the president of the Holy Ghost of the Church of the Firstborn of the General Assembly of Heaven.
Geody Harman, 37, who describes himself as First Counsel of the church, was arrested Wednesday on a Utah warrant charging him with the rape of the same 15-year-old girl.
KSL reported that Cynthia Dalton, who was 15 at the time of the alleged incidents and is now 20, gave up her right to privacy in the case because she wants to see her father brought to justice.
2 leaders of church charged in teen’s rape
The sect was organized in 2001 in Magna [Utah] 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.