After about five hours of deliberation, a jury Thursday found a leader of a religious sect guilty of raping his daughter and allowing his friend to rape her as well.
Terrill Dalton, 45, who used the name the “Holy Ghost,” was convicted of two counts of rape, a first-degree felony. […]
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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.”
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.
Dalton, who has been in custody throughout the trial, could be sentenced to up to life in prison on both convictions.
In 3rd District Court this week, the victim, now 22, said Dalton told her that having sex with 38-year-old Geody Harman was God’s will. The woman said Dalton later promised her “great blessings” if she also had sex with him.
“He made me feel as if no matter what I did, I could never be right before God,” she testified. “I tried so hard. … There was always something bigger he wanted me to do.” […]
Harman, who has been charged with rape, has been offered a plea deal that will allow him to plead guilty to a lesser charge and avoid further jail or prison time in exchange for his testimony, but he has yet to officially enter a plea.