New Mexico Police Remove Four Children from Church Compound

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — State police in northeastern New Mexico have removed four children from the compound of an apocalyptic church, whose leader claims to be the Messiah and acknowledges having sex with followers.

State Children, Youth and Families Department spokeswoman Romaine Serna says the three girls and one boy — all under the age of 18 — were taken from the compound in the days after an April 22 investigation.

Serna says the children were put in state custody because of allegations of inappropriate contact between minors and the adult leader of The Lord Our Righteousness Church.

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Wayne Bent, known in the church as Michael Travesser, established the church at a site called Strong City in the rural norteastern corner of the state.

He alleges the children were kidnapped by the state.

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