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Co-Leader of Montana Religious Sect Accused of Rape

By Beacon Staff

BILLINGS – The co-leader of a religious sect that fled Utah and Idaho before coming to southern Montana is accused of having sex with a 15-year-old girl.

Rod Ostermiller, Montana’s acting U.S. marshal, said 37-year-old Geody Harman was arrested in Fromberg, Mont., on Wednesday on a first degree rape warrant out of Salt Lake City. Harman is being held in the Yellowstone County jail on $250,007 bail.

“Due to the nature of the crime and the bond amount set, this is obviously somebody who was a priority,” Ostermiller said.

Charging documents allege Harman had sex with the teen in Utah and that she told investigators another church leader encouraged her to do so because Harman was God. The documents say the girl reported having sex with Harman one time because she believed she would be blessed.

Harman, along with Terrill Dalton, lead the Fromberg-based Church of the Firstborn of the General Assembly of Heaven.

An arrest warrant also has been issued for Dalton, the church’s president, and charges him with two felony counts of first degree rape. Charging documents say Dalton, who is in his 40s, had sex with the same girl as Harman after telling her “that if she had sex with him three times, (she) would be blessed.”

The church moved to Fromberg from Idaho in September after claiming persecution. Church members initially fled to Idaho after federal agents raided their headquarters in Magna, Utah, in May 2009 to investigate claims of sexual abuse and assassination threats against President Barack Obama, former President George W. Bush and the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Thomas S. Monson.

Dalton told the Billings Gazette in March that investigators did not find anything and no one had been charged. He said the allegations were invented by a rival church member who was involved in a child custody dispute with Dalton’s wife. They are now divorced.

Dalton says he grew up as a Mormon but received a revelation in 2004 — in which Jesus Christ called him the Holy Ghost — that he should start a new church.

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