Cult leader Wayne Bent goes to trial

Man claims to be the Messiah

TAOS, N.M. (KRQE) – The man who said that he only answers to god will soon be answering to a judge and a jury of his peers.

The trial of cult leader Wayne Bent is scheduled to begin Monday, on charges that he sexually abused some of his underage female followers.

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Bent insists that the contact he had with the alleged victims at the cult compound were acts of God.

Shortly after he was arrested back in May, Bent said that he would stop eating.

Since then he has been in and out of jail on hunger strikes. On Nov. 21 he was released from jail.

As part of his release, he has to maintain a balanced diet so he will be in good health for the beginning of the trial.

Bent is the leader of the “Lord Our Righteousness Church” near Clayton, N.M.

Two teenage girls and one boy were taken away from the cult compound back in April by the state after allegations of sex crimes surfaced.

Bent’s son, Jeff Bent, described his father’s actions as acts of healing back in May.

“Everything he has done, he’s done because people have come to him and asked him to do it,” he said.

Bent faces several counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

The trial will be held in Taos.

Bent claims that he is the messiah. He also predicted that the world would end on Oct. 31, and that all of his cult members would follow him into heaven.

– Source: Cult leader goes to trial, KRQE (New Mexico, USA), Dec. 7, 2008

Trial For Wayne Bent Begins Monday In Taos

[…] Some of Wayne Bent’s former followers spoke by phone Sunday.

They are now witnesses in the case against him, and couldn’t say much because of a gag order.

They said they are preparing for what will likely be an emotional week in court.

Dozens of witnesses will testify about scenes inside the Strong City cult.

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Wayne Bent called himself the Messiah.

“I am the embodiment of God,” he told a documentary crew with National Geographic earlier this year. “I am divinity and humanity combined.”

People who’ve since left the Lord Our Righteousness Church will tell a jury about how Bent controlled their lives.

Before the gag order was in place, Prudence Welch, a former cult member, said, “You could come and go you still can but it’s like a mind trip like you’re not going to heaven if you leave.”

“We weren’t allowed to contact any of our relatives,” said Trina Golden, another former cult member, before the gag order. “We were supposed to be dead to them.”

Authorities said the problems inside the gates of the Strong City Cult went far past isolation.

Bent will go on trial for what police say was inappropriate sexual contact with young girls at the Union County compound, a story backed up by a witness in the case.

“He picked seven virgins, he laid naked with them,” said Welch. “He picked seven messengers or angels and they put out the plagues to plague the earth. And there are seven wives who he’s had sex with.”

Both of the women have since left the cult.

– Source: Trial For Wayne Bent Begins Monday In Taos, KOAT (New Mexico, USA), Dec. 7, 2008 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

See Also

Cult leader predicts dire consequences for the world if he is put on trial

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Religion News Blog posted this on Monday December 8, 2008.
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