Utah Tea Party Activist Charged with Sexual Assault


Image from cityweekly.net

Greg Peterson has lately gained himself a name among members of the Republican Party. He is a Utah Tea Party activist and a prominent fund raiser who owns a large cabin on the outskirts of Salt Lake City. In 2010, according to the Salt Lake Tribune, Peterson organized the first Rocky Mountain Conservatives Barbecue at his cabin as a way to “mend fences” after the U.S. Senate primary between Tim Bridgewater and Mike Lee (who ended up winning the seat). In 2011, this barbecue event hosted by Peterson grew to include around 300 guests. In preparation for the 2012 barbecue, Peterson began touting the event as the “CPAC of the West” (in reference to the national Conservative Political Action Committee that draws activists to Washington, D.C. each year). Over these past few years, Peterson’s barbecue event has drawn many prominent political figures, including a number of U.S. Senators and Representatives. Aside from his work as a Tea Party activist, Peterson is a financial planner, as well as an owner of two Orem-based companies – Peterson Wealth Management and Smartstocks.com. Peterson earned an MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurship from Brigham Young University.

By all accounts, Greg Peterson would seem to be a respectable man who has serious potential within the conservative side of politics. However, all this ended on July 18, 2012, when Peterson was accused of raping four women. Two of the women claim that they were taken to the cabin where Peterson hosted his major political events, and were assaulted there. Peterson was charged in 3rd District Court in Salt Lake City on Wednesday with 23 felony counts, which included rape, aggravated kidnapping, object rape, forcible sexual abuse, and burglary. All of the charges stem from the alleged attacks on the four women; these attacks are reported to have occurred in March, July, and December of 2011, as well as in April of 2012. In each case, Peterson is reported to have taken his victims out on dates before assaulting them. He even held a woman at his mother’s residence in Lewiston for several days after threatening to expose her expired visa status.

One of the most upsetting aspects of this entire situation is the amount of time that it took for the assaults and rapes to be reported. According to Jezebel, Peterson’s victims reported his crimes to law enforcement officials in various Utah counties. However, it appears that nothing was done about these reports until the Salt Lake City department led an investigation into Peterson’s affairs earlier this year. Later, a fifth woman claiming to have been assaulted by Peterson approached police; however, no charges were filed because prosecutors did not believe that they could prove that the woman did not consent to the sexual contact. Perhaps worst of all, there have been rumors and suspicions of Peterson’s activity floating around for some time now, yet nobody decided to act on what they heard. Jezebel cites the case of Darcy Van Orden, a conservative activist who attended Peterson’s barbecues in the past. Van Orden is quoted as saying, “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.” Some people who knew Peterson claimed that they were not surprised at all when they heard about the allegations made against him.

It is rather upsetting to consider that it took Peterson this long to be charged for his crimes considering that many people were suspicious of Peterson and Peterson’s victims came forward to law officials. However, many of the cases of rape and sexual assault that are reported to police in the United States never even get this far. In some cases, sexual assault can be extremely difficult to prove. In other cases, these attacks are reported and then nobody follows through with investigating these reports. Even worse, many victims of sexual assault are afraid that nobody will believe them should they choose to report an attack; this means that a large amount of sexual assaults that occur in the United States are never reported. Many people have become outraged at the amount of time that it took to bring charges against Peterson. Yet, these people may need to take a step back and realize that the sexual assaults committed by Peterson are among some of the only cases of sexual assault that get an investigation. It is time for change when it comes to the way law enforcement handles sexual assault cases; victims should be able to have faith that their law enforcement officials will do their best to catch the attacker.

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Comments

  1. rapos are scum.

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