Utah authorities on Wednesday accused a high-profile Republican fundraiser of raping women at a cabin where he hosted events for some of the biggest names in politics in the state.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported on Thursday that prosecutors charged GOP fundraiser Greg Peterson, 37, of Orem, Utah, with 23 felony counts, including the rapes of four women. Jail records online showed that he was still being held on $750,000 bond.
Two of the rapes allegedly took place at a cabin he owns in Heber, Utah, a town about 40 miles away from Salt Lake City, the newspaper reported. The cabin has been the site of some big name fundraisers over the years.
In one case, the newspaper reported, he allegedly told a woman he met at a church function that he had a gun and forced her to go to his cabin. There, he allegedly raped her and hit her if she refused to do what he wanted.
In another case, Peterson allegedly met a woman online, went to a movie with her and then threatened to report the woman to immigration authorities after learning her visa had expired. The Tribune reported he allegedly then drove her to the cabin and sexually assaulted her there.
A 2011 blog post by Utah businessman and Tenth Amendment advocate Michael Jolley described one of the Peterson-hosted events that took place that July. It featured speeches by some of the biggest Republican politicians in Utah. U.S. Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee were both there, as was Rep. Jason Chaffetz and Gov. Gary Herbert.
“This past Friday, Greg Peterson hosted around 300 of Utah’s most politically active conservatives at his cabin at the Timberlakes near Heber City, Utah,” Jolley wrote. “The event is a follow up to one held last year with the purpose of healing the rifts formed in the Utah GOP following the hotly contested primary between Mike Lee and Tim Bridgewater.”
On Peterson’s Facebook page, he describes himself as the owner of Peterson Wealth Management and features a photo of him meeting GOP presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Another photo shows an invitation to a Romney fundraiser that he co-chaired on Nov. 17, 2007 in Park City, Utah.
His most recent Facebook post was at 3:49 p.m. on Wednesday with an image of a spider in a web. The photo mocked a recent speech by President Obama with the text “Nice Web. You Didn’t Build That.”
None of the alleged crimes appear to be directly connected to Peterson’s political activities or the candidates he hosted fundraisers for.
Read the entire story from the Salt Lake Tribune.
Ed note: This story has been corrected to remove incorrect information from the Salt Lake Tribune that said a state attorney general’s debate was held at Peterson’s cabin. It was held at a local high school.
Nick Martin is an associate editor at TPM in New York City. He came to the site in 2011 as a reporter for TPMMuckraker. Previously, he worked in Arizona, first as a staff reporter for a local newspaper and later as a freelance journalist. He also ran the news blog Heat City. Contact him: nick [at] talkingpointsmemo.com