Court • Judge sets hearing Oct. 10, says alleged victim has right to speedy resolution.
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Heber • GOP activist Greg Peterson made his first appearance in 4th District Court on Wednesday on charges that he sexually assaulted a fifth woman.
Peterson, 37, of Orem, is charged in Wasatch County with one count of second-degree felony forcible sexual abuse. He was earlier charged in Salt Lake County's 3rd District Court with abusing four other women.
Calling it an "unusual request," defense attorney Gerald Salcido asked Judge Derek Pullan on Wednesday to delay Peterson's preliminary hearing to the beginning of next year, while they try to reach a resolution in the Salt Lake County case.
Salcido told the judge there was no indication Peterson could make the $2 million bail set in Salt Lake County.
When Pullan asked prosecutors whether the alleged victim had any problem with the delay, prosecutors said they have been in contact with her but haven't discussed any potential delay.
Pullan said that while Peterson was willing to waive his right to a speedy trial, the alleged victim also had a right to a speedy resolution. He then set Peterson's preliminary hearing for Oct. 10.
According to the Wasatch County charges, Peterson in April 2010 allegedly took the woman to his Heber cabin for lunch, and said he wanted to watch a movie. The woman said she didn't have time and needed to pick up her daughter from school. According to court documents, Peterson began kissing her and after she told him to stop, exposed his genitals. When he attempted to make her touch him, she put her hand on the holster of her gun and "told him he needed to take [her] home or she would start walking," according to court documents.
He then took her back to her car in Utah County.
In the Salt Lake County case, Peterson faces 25 charges of assault, rape and kidnapping. Earlier this month, a judge heard testimony at a preliminary hearing from four women who claimed Peterson sexually assaulted them during dates.
Peterson met all four women because of his membership in the Mormon church, according to prosecutors and the women's testimony. He allegedly raped two of the women at his cabin in Heber, the same residence in which he hosted gatherings for notable Utah Republicans. The other women were assaulted at their homes, prosecutors say.
During the preliminary hearing, the women testified that Peterson became sexually aggressive almost immediately. They said they complied with some of his demands because he either hit them or told them he had a gun.
A hearing to discuss legal issues in the Salt Lake County case has been set for Nov. 2.
Meanwhile, the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards has taken disciplinary action against Peterson, a certified public accountant and the owner of Peterson Wealth Management. The group, citing the Salt Lake County charges, suspended Peterson's right to use the certified financial planner designation, pending the outcome of the board's investigation into the criminal charges.