The leader of a religious sect once based in Magna, Utah has been sentenced to six years to life for raping his daughter and allowing his friend to rape her as well.
In 2005, Terrill Dalton told the 15-year-old girl he was “the Holy Ghost” and promised her “great blessings” if she had sex with him, according to testimony and court documents. Dalton also told the teen it was God’s will that she have sex with his second in command, 38-year-old Geody Harman.
On Friday, 3rd District Judge Judith Atherton sentenced the 45-year-old Dalton to consecutive terms of three years to life.
Dalton was convicted by a jury in March of two first-degree felony counts of rape.
He was the president of the Church of the Firstborn of the General Assembly of Heaven, a sect with fewer than 100 members that later moved to Idaho before settling in Montana. Church members called him “God in the flesh,” and prosecutors said Dalton “served [the victim] up on a platter” to Harman, his lieutenant.
Prosecutors say Dalton condoned an “impression” that Geody Harman, 38, said he had received indicating that he needed to have sex with the then-15-year-old girl. Both Dalton and Harman were leaders of a small religious group called the Church of the First Born and the General Assembly of Heaven.
Dalton called himself the “Holy Ghost” while Harman was often referred to as “God in the flesh.” In a prior hearing, Dalton’s daughter testified that she was promised she would receive blessings if she had sex with the two men and felt extreme pressure from her father and those in his church to comply.
“I didn’t know what to believe,” Cynthia Dalton testified. “That church was everything I knew.”
In April Harman pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree felony unlawful sex with a minor. He will be sentenced next month.
Dalton and Harman were arrested in August, 2010.
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.
In March, 2010 the group moved again, this time to Montana.
In Feburary Dalton’s sister said he raped her as well.