The New Mexico Court of Appeals on Tuesday tossed out the convictions of a religious group’s leader who had been found guilty of sexual misconduct with teenage followers.
The court ruled a grand jury’s term had expired months before it returned an indictment against Wayne Bent
and that a district judge didn’t have the power to extend its term.
Nearly two years after the arrest of self proclaimed messiah Wayne Bent
, a New Mexico TV news station became the first media allowed inside his cult’s compound.
If you spend a day walking around the remote property of the Lord Our Righteousness Church you wouldn’t believe you were amongst what State Police call an apocalyptic cult. [video]
New Mexico’s highest court has denied sect leader Wayne Bent
‘s petition to be released on bond from prison while he appeals his convictions
for sexual misconduct with teenage female followers, AP
The Supreme Court denied the petition without explanation, as had the Court of Appeals.
also says Bent is being force-fed
. A judge cleared the way for that
after the cult leader tried to starve himself
by means of an extended fast in protest of his imprisonment.
New Mexico attorney General Gary King’s office is opposing cult leader Wayne Bent
’s petition to the state Supreme Court for bond while awaiting appeal.
Bent’s previous filings on district and state levels were both denied. Assistant Attorney General Margaret McLean asks the Supreme Court to uphold the previous courts’ rulings.
She cites no “clear and convincing” evidence that Bent, Strong City
leader, won’t flee or pose danger to another person or community. She also says a reversal or order for a new trial is unlikely and argues there are no grounds to revisit granting an appeal bond.
Imprisoned cult leader Wayne Bent, who is on a hunger strike, won’t be getting home-cooked meals from his followers and instead may be force fed through a tube, a District Court judge decided Wednesday.
A doctor testified that if the fast continues, Bent’s vital organs will shut down and he would die in a matter of days. [video]
Cult leader Wayne Bent
is scheduled to be in court on Wednesday as a judge decides whether the state should force feed him.
Bent wrote letters to his cult
in Union County letting them know that he will begin fasting
on Sept. 1.
His fourth week of fasting is fast approaching, he will not have any food or water. Now the state is rushing a decision to intervene and force feed him with IVs and tubes.
Medical experts said that within seven days of no water, his organs will begin to break down.
Jeff Bent, Wayne Bent’s son, said the state needs to accept his father’s wishes and religious practices and not force him to eat.
Convicted church leader Wayne Bent
has said he no longer wants to eat, and the self-proclaimed messiah could die in prison if he carries out his plan.
In an online statement posted on his church’s Web site, Bent outlined his plan to starve himself. [video]
Eyewitness News 4 investigative reporter Jeremy Jojola spoke with the woman, known as Esther, just hours before deputies took her away from her cult compound near Clayton, New Mexico. It is where she has lived in isolation since she was six years old, along with others who believe Wayne Bent to be the messiah.
“I swear by God that he is in jail over a lie, and I won’t support that,” said Esther. “I’m willing to die on what I stand on, which is purely God’s instructions to me. I wouldn’t be doing this if God hadn’t told me to, but I’m willing to die doing what God told me to do, and in essence, yes, it would be for Wayne Bent.”
A member of a northeastern New Mexico religious sect has been removed from the sect’s compound near Clayton by sheriff’s deputies so they can convince her to eat.
The woman has been starving herself since the day cult leader Wayne Bent entered prison on a 10-years sentence.
According to an entry on the Strong City
Web site of The Lord Our Righteousness Church, a woman named Esther was taken by Union County deputies late Wednesday night, a day after they had checked on her condition
at the sect’s compound.
On Monday, deputies visited the Strong City Cult compound in Northeastern New Mexico to check-up on a young woman who’s been starving herself since Wayne Bent was sent to prison, according to Bent’s son.
The cult leader was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison for touching a naked underage follower.
Before he entered prison Ben vowed to starve himself to death if and when jailed.
Just a few days into his 10-year prison sentence, cult leader (‘son of God’ and false prophet) Wayne Bent has ended his hunger strike — now referring to it as a ‘religious fast.’
Throughout his trial, the 67-year-old sect leader repeatedly said he would refuse to eat if he was sent to prison:
“If I go to jail again, I am not going to live there. I will not,” he told the court. [video]
The leader of a New Mexico cult has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The judge sentenced 67-year-old Wayne Bent to the maximum of 18 years on Tuesday, then suspended eight years.
Bent was convicted of 1 count of criminal sexual contact of a minor and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor earlier this month. [video]
Cult leader Wayne Bent, convicted on sex abuse charges, will be sentenced tomorrow.
The self-proclaimed Messiah could be sentenced to up to 18 years behind bars.
He has said that he probably would not eat if he were locked up.
Son Jeff Bent said he believed it was the “end of the road for the world” because of his father’s conviction.
He has refused to say what would happen to the sect if his father were imprisoned.
On his website, Bent continues to claim he was crucified and falsely convicted like Christ.
“The jury was a very good picture of the world and by convicting the Son of God for a crime that he did not commit, as they did with Jesus Christ, they have convicted themselves,” Bent said in the statement.
He will be sentenced later this month. [video]
The leader of an apocalyptic sect convicted
of sexual misconduct with young female followers isn’t hoping for a break when he’s sentenced and likely wouldn’t live long in prison, his son says.
Jeff Bent said he believed it was the “end of the road for the world” because of his father’s conviction.
He sidestepped questions about whether the 45 or so church members would fast if Wayne Bent did while he was in prison. Church members had indicated last week that they would.
Jurors in Taos on Monday convicted the leader of an apocalyptic northeastern New Mexico sect on one count of criminal sexual contact of a minor and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Prosecutor Emilio Chavez told jurors the case was not about religion and that Bent must be treated like anyone else. [updated] [video]
Wayne Bent insists that he did nothing wrong by lying naked with two teenage girls, and that it’s common for him to kiss and embrace any member of his group.
Surrounded by his followers, Wayne Bent waited outside a Taos, New Mexico Courthouse on Friday.
News 13’s Mike Paluska asked Bent if he’d do it again. At first, Bent and his followers chuckled at the question and he refused to give an answer. However, he’d later respond. [video]
Jurors weighing criminal sexual contact charges against the leader of an apocalyptic New Mexico sect deliberated for more than five hours today without reaching a verdict.
Wayne Bent, 67, is accused of illicit sexual contact with 14- and 16-year old female followers.
Prosecutor Emilio Chavez told jurors in closing arguments that the case is “not about religion” and that Bent – who says the touching was a form of spiritual healing – must be treated like anyone else.