3 more women claim GOP political activist abused them

2012-07-29T00:40:00Z 2012-07-29T01:01:19Z 3 more women claim GOP political activist abused themThe Associated Press The Associated Press
July 29, 2012 12:40 am  • 

Three more women have accused a conservative Utah political activist of sexually assaulting them, the Wasatch County Sheriff said.

Gregory Peterson, 37, of Orem, already is facing 25 rape and other charges stemming from allegations by four women. No charges have been filed in connection with claims by the three other women so far.

"My understanding is (the latest allegations are) pretty similar to the others," Sheriff Todd Bonner said.

Peterson is accused of meeting the women "outside of Wasatch County and (bringing) them to his cabin in the Heber area," Bonner said.

Two of the women have been interviewed by his detectives, he said, but a third woman had not yet decided whether she wants to cooperate with investigators.

At least two of the new cases have been presented to prosecutors to consider potential charges, Bonner said.

Wasatch County Attorney Scott Sweat said his office was still in the process of reviewing those cases. Peterson's attorney, Jerry Salcido, declined to comment on the new allegations, saying he did not have information about them.

Peterson maintains the date rape accusations from the other four women are false. Two say they were assaulted at his Heber-area cabin, where Peterson has held annual gatherings for Republican officeholders and candidates.

Utah Republican Chairman Thomas Wright said Peterson is a self-styled tea-party operative who has never held a leadership position or raised or donated money for the state party.

Peterson, who was arrested July 18, is being held at the Salt Lake County jail in lieu of $750,000 bail. When a judge refused to lower Peterson's bail Wednesday, his lawyers quickly demanded a preliminary hearing that normally involves months of waiting.

On Friday, a judge scheduled the hearing for Aug. 14-15.

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