Jurors get sect leader’s molestation case
The fate of the leader of a Union County religious sect accused of sexually molesting two girls was put in the hands of a Taos County jury Friday morning.
Bent denies the separate incidents were sexual in nature. He says they were religious healing episodes.
Bent’s attorney, during closing arguments Friday morning, argued that the father of the 14- and 16-year-old girls remains friendly with Bent.
“Common sense tells us the father of the two girls is not going to be friends with someone if he believes that his children were sexually molested,” argued Sarah Montoya.
“We’re not saying that his (Bent’s) beliefs are wrong,” said prosecutor Emilio Chavez. “We’re holding it neutral under the law and treating this event the same as (we would for) everybody else.”
Bent at one point had to remove his glasses and wipe away tears as jurors were shown a video of the sect’s Strong City compound north of Clayton.
If convicted of the two counts of sexual contact with minors, Bent could face up to 33 years in prison.