Republican activist charged with assaulting 5 women dies in apparent suicide | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Republican activist charged with assaulting 5 women dies in apparent suicide

October 24, 2012 - 4:23 AM

SALT LAKE CITY - A Republican activist charged with sexually assaulting five women apparently committed suicide Tuesday at the cabin in Heber, Utah, where the crimes allegedly took place, sheriff's officials said.

Two bail bond agents were dispatched to the cabin Tuesday to check on Gregory Peterson because his ankle monitor was not responding, Wasatch County Sheriff Todd Bonner said.

Peterson, 37, had been out on bail since Oct. 19 on multiple charges of rape, assault and kidnapping. He was to stand trial on 23 felony charges and two misdemeanour counts.

The men found Peterson's body in an upstairs bedroom, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Chief Deputy Jared Rigby confirmed that Peterson was found with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. A medical examiner's final determination on a cause of death will come after an autopsy Wednesday.

Peterson's lawyer had been trying to contact him but he was not responding, Bonner said. Bonner said he didn't know if Peterson had left behind a suicide note.

Four women from Salt Lake County and one from Wasatch County testified at a hearing in August that Peterson sexually assaulted them at his cabin. The women said Peterson fondled them over their clothing without consent.

He's accused of meeting them on Mormon dating websites and at church functions.

Peterson, a certified public accountant and the owner of Peterson Wealth Management, has been a fixture at Utah Republican gatherings. He helped organize the Rocky Mountain Conservatives Convention and Barbecue two years ago at the cabin. Prominent Utah politicians hosted by Peterson include U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, Gov. Gary Herbert, U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz and others.

While Peterson has been involved in state politics and events, Utah Republican chairman Thomas Wright has said he never held a leadership role or raised or donated money for the state party. Some considered Peterson a self-styled operative of the conservative tea party movement.

News from © The Associated Press, 2012
The Associated Press

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