Utah Jury Finds Montana Sect Leader Guilty of Rape
A jury in Salt Lake City found a co-leader of a Montana-based religious sect guilty of raping a 15-year-old girl and also of ordering that she have sex with another leader in 2005.
Jurors returned the verdict Thursday in the case against 45-year-old Terrill Dalton, who is president of the Church of the Firstborn of the General Assembly of Heaven.
They found him guilty of rape and being a party to rape.
Prosecutors say Dalton convinced the girl to have sex with him and another sect leader by telling her she would receive blessings.
Dalton has maintained he’s innocent. His lawyer, Rudy Bautista, testified that the girl was angry with Dalton and the accusations stem from financially motivated efforts to destroy the church.
Bautista says he plans to appeal the verdict.