Gov. Herbert’s half brother charged with raping, sexually abusing child

PROVO — Gov. Gary Herbert’s half brother, who is currently in prison for attempting to solicit sex from a teenage girl online, is facing new charges alleging he raped and sexually abused the daughter of a woman he dated more than 15 years ago.

Paul Gordon Peters, 59, was charged April 5 in 4th District Court with three counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, six counts of sodomy on a child, and two counts of rape of a child, all first-degree felonies.

Peters’ new charges date back to the time between September 2000 and September 2002 when prosecutors say he was dating a woman in Utah County, and on several occasions raped or sexually assaulted the woman’s young daughter.

Now an adult, the victim told police she was 7 years old when Peters began dating her mother. According to the charges, Peters was a father figure to the woman as a child, but she had little contact with him after he and her mother ended their relationship.

The woman described 11 times that she says Peters sexually assaulted her, sometimes in her home and once after driving her up a canyon, the charges state. The woman said she remembers “many many times” that Peters engaged in sex acts with her.

Peters was arrested and convicted last year of meeting a teenage girl for sex. He thought he had been communicating with a 13-year-old girl, but it was actually an undercover officer posing as a young teen. According to the new charges filed this month, Peters told that fictional teenager that he had dated a woman in the past and thereby had access to her daughter, then suggested the fictional teenager introduce him to her mother for the same reason.

Peters was sentenced in December to two consecutive terms of zero to five years in prison after pleading guilty to enticing, soliciting, seducing or luring a minor by internet or text, as well as attempted sexual exploitation of a minor.

The charges were reduced from second-degree felonies to third-degree felonies as part of a deal with prosecutors. Additional charges were dismissed in the deal, including three counts of dealing in materials harmful to a minor, a third-degree felony; two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony; and possession of drug paraphernalia, a class B misdemeanor.

Peters was arrested in May 2016 when he arrived at a Provo convenience store believing he was meeting a 13-year-old girl for sex, according to police. When he was arrested, Peters identified himself to officers as Herbert’s half brother.

Herbert’s office declined to comment on the case Thursday, referring instead to a statement released when Peters was charged last year.

“Regardless of who is being accused, the governor believes these are horrific allegations. His parents were divorced when the governor was very young, and the two were raised in different homes,” Jon Cox, Herbert’s spokesman at the time, said in the prepared statement.

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