Utah Tea Party activist and prominent fund raiser Greg Peterson owns a beautiful 5 bedroom, 5 bathroom 3,000 square foot cabin in the ruggedly gorgeous area outside of Salt Lake City. Over the years, with the help of his fancy cabin, Peterson has proven himself an adept host — entertaining and gladhanding with the likes of Mitt Romney, Governor Gary Herbert, Sen. Orrin Hatch, and rising Tea Party star Mia Love. And according to charges filed today, Peterson's almost as talented a rapist as he is a Republican fundraiser.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the 37-year-old financial planner was charged with 23 felony counts today, including rape, aggravated kidnapping, object rape, forcible sexual abuse, forcible sexual abuse, and burglary. All of the charges stem from alleged attacks on four women that happened in March, July, and December of 2011, and in April of this year. In each instance, Peterson allegedly took his victims out on dates and ended up assaulting them. In one case, he held a woman for several days after threatening to expose her expired visa status.
Why did it take so long for the rapes to be reported? Good, old fashioned police dumbfuckery combined with a hearty sprinkling of oblivious assholes not doing anything about it. Peterson's alleged victims reported the crimes to law enforcement officials in various Utah counties, but it seems that no one did anything about him until the Salt Lake City department led an investigation into Peterson's extracurriculars this year. A fifth victim approached police, but no charges were filed after prosecutors thought that they couldn't prove that the woman didn't consent to the sexual contact. And, of course, there were rumors. But no one did jack squat about anything.
Brandon Beckham, a state delegate who had done videography work for Peterson, said he learned of the rape allegations from a few women several months ago and warned GOP candidates to steer clear of Peterson while he got authorities involved.
"It didn't surprise me at all," said Beckham.
Beckham said that one of Peterson's accusers was in the country on a visa and Beckham said that Peterson told her that if she went to police his political friends could get the visa revoked and have her kicked out of the country.
"I thought, ‘Wow, I can't have a guy in politics like this,' and we were just determined to make sure justice was served because they needed help and support of some kind," Beckham said.
"I'm extremely disturbed," said Darcy Van Orden, a conservative activist who had attended Peterson's barbecues in the past. "I believe in innocent until proven guilty, but having talked to several people and heard a lot of allegations about this for basically the last six months, I was kind of waiting to see this thing play itself out."
Yeah, best to let things play out when you hear rumors floating around that a guy who you sometimes party with is going around kidnapping and raping people. Excellent human-ing, conservative activist Darcy Van Orden.
Peterson is far from the only politically minded person who also happened to be a total psycho. Ted Bundy attended the 1968 Republican National Convention in Miami as a Nelson Rockefeller delegate, and John Wayne Gacy was active in Democratic party politics. Both men later went on to kill a lot of people and provide future fodder for hundreds of thousands of frightening Wikipedia spirals. Like Gacy, Peterson's also been photographed with a pretty famous political figure.
Whether Salt Lake City's police department thwarted a budding Ted Bundy remains to be determined by the judicial system. But if they did, it's no thanks to the people who knew that something was fishy in Heber, Utah and did nothing to stop it.