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Utah GOP Operative In Court Over Sex Charges

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file photo of a courtroom.  (credit: Tony Weller/GettyImages)

file photo of a courtroom. (credit: Tony Weller/GettyImages)

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Utah Republican Party activist facing 25 rape and other charges will get a bail hearing Wednesday.

The hearing was scheduled as Gregory Nathan Peterson, 37, of Orem, made his first appearance in 3rd District Court on Monday.

Peterson’s attorney, Gerald Salcido, has maintained that the charges from four women are false. Peterson wasn’t required to enter a plea Monday, and he wasn’t given an opportunity to speak.

Salcido has said he will try to reduce Peterson’s $750,000 bail at Salt Lake County jail, where he has been held since Wednesday.

Two of the women say they were assaulted on their first dates with Peterson last year at his cabin outside Heber, where he has held annual gatherings for various Republican candidates and officeholders. One of those women alleged that an assault continued when Peterson drove her to his mother’s house in Lewiston, Cache County.

Two other women say they were assaulted as recently as April 2012 at their homes in Salt Lake County after lunch dates.

Salcido is questioning the charges by saying prosecutors in Cache and Wasatch counties declined to file them over complaints from two of the women.

The Associated Press, however, found that only one woman’s complaint was turned away.

“We didn’t believe it was a case we could prosecute,” Wasatch County Attorney Scott Sweat told the AP on Friday. He declined to elaborate.

On Monday, Salt Lake County prosecutor Joseph Hill wouldn’t explain why his office felt it could prosecute a case Sweat found lacking.

“These are very serious charges — and we intend to prosecute them aggressively,” Hill said. “Any case with multiple victims is going to be serious.”

Peterson faces charges of rape, kidnapping, sexual abuse, assault, sexual battery and burglary.

Peterson’s cabin gatherings attracted many top Utah Republicans, but his role in the party remains unclear. He appears to have gotten involved with the tea party and organized a group called Rocky Mountain Conservatives.

But it isn’t certain Peterson carried much heft in the Utah Republican Party. The state party’s Executive Director Ivan DuBois and Chairman Thomas Wright didn’t return calls from the AP on Monday.

Online business listings say Peterson is a certified financial planner who runs Peterson Wealth Management and Smartstocks.com from Orem.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 

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