Religion News Blog — The former first counselor of a small, obscure religious sect once based in Magna, Utah pleaded guilty Friday to having sex with a 15-year-old girl.
Geody Harman, 38 — formerly of the Church of the Firstborn of the General Assembly of Heaven — pleaded guilty in 3rd District Court to one count of third-degree felony unlawful sex with a minor.
Harman faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced June 8 by Judge Judith Atherton.
Harman was originally charged with first-degree felony rape, but was allowed to plead to the lesser crime in exchange for testifying against Terrill Dalton, the president of the Church of the Firstborn of the General Assembly of Heaven.
Dalton, 45, was convicted by a jury last month of two first-degree felony counts of rape and faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced May 11.
Dalton told his then 15-year-old daughter he was ‘the Holy Ghost’ and promised her she would be ‘blessed’ before forcing her to have sex with him. Prosecutors said he also condoned an ‘impression’ that Geody Harman, 38, said he had received indicating that he needed to have sex with the girl. Within the sect Harman was referred to as ‘God in the flesh.’
The victim, now 22, says she felt extreme pressure from her father and those in his church to comply.
“I didn’t know what to believe,” she testified. “That church was everything I knew.”
Dalton’s sister claims he raped her as well.
In an interview with a Montana newspaper Dalton, a former Mormon, said that Jesus Christ visited him several times after a two day fast, telling him that he, Dalton, was the Holy Ghost and Jesus’ father.
Dalton and Harman moved their church to Idaho in the summer of 2009, after their home in the Salt Lake City suburb of Magna was raided by federal officials investigating claims of child sexual abuse and assassination threats against President Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.