Republican Fundraiser in Utah, Charged With Multiple Counts of Rape and Kidnapping, Commits Suicide

A violent end to a tawdry tale of power and abuse.

Greg Peterson, the well-connected Republican activist and fundraiser charged with 23 felonies for rape, kidnapping and related crimes in July, is believed to have committed suicide, according to the Salt Lake City Tribune.  

Michael McFall, David Montero and Anne Wilson report:

Faced with rape charges that could have put him in prison for the rest of his life, embattled political activist Greg Peterson killed himself Tuesday, just days after posting a $2 million bond and being released from jail.

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Peterson, 37, was found dead in his Heber City cabin, the site of some of the highlights of his political endeavors, and the place where prosecutors said Peterson raped at least two of his victims.

Peterson’s death was confirmed Tuesday night by Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill and defense attorney Cara Tangaro.

Gill charged Peterson in July with 25 charges of assault, rape and kidnapping stemming from alleged attacks on four women he met through LDS dating websites. Later, Wasatch County prosecutors filed similar charges involving a fifth alleged victim.

Peterson had been in the Salt Lake County jail until Friday, when he posted bond and was allowed to walk free.

On Tuesday, two men from All Out Bail Bonds, which had posted bail for Peterson, went to check on Peterson at his cabin because the battery on his ankle monitor needed to be recharged and he had not answered their calls, said Wasatch County Sheriff Todd Bonner.

The two men arrived at the cabin, about 8 miles east of Heber in an area called Timberlake Estates, shortly before 5 p.m. They did not see his car, and the cabin was dark, Bonner said.

A door was unlocked, so they entered the cabin and began looking for Peterson. They found him dead on a bed in an upstairs bedroom with a self-inflicted wound to the head, Bonner said.

Peterson has held an annual Rocky Mountain Conservatives Convention at the cabin for several years, where some of the movers and shakers of Republican politics in Utah would gather for a barbeque. According to a local conservative political blogger, Michael Jolley, attendees at last year's event included Rep Jason Chaffetz, Senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee, and Republican Gov. Gary Herbert. According to Talking Points Memo, Petersen co-chaired a 2007 fundraiser for Mitt Romney.