Cult parents felt betrayed
TAOS, N. M. (KRQE) – The parents of two teenage girls testified Tuesday they were already wary of cult leader Wayne Bent when they learned he had lain naked with their daughters.
The girls’ parents were long-time followers of Wayne Bent as members of the Lord our Righteousness Church. Bent is on trial charged with two counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor, and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
KRQE News 13 is not revealing the parents’ names to protect the identities of the alleged victims. The trial, which began Monday, was moved to Taos County on a change of venue.
The parents took the witness stand explaining how their opinion of Bent began to change when church members moved to Union County in northeastern New Mexico in 2000. That’s the same year Bent, also known to his followers as Michael Travesser, first claimed to be the messiah.
Their concerns solidified when the girls revealed that Bent had lain naked with them in 2006, the parents said. Bent, his followers and his defense attorney have claimed those innocent acts of God, acts of healing.
According to the girls’ parents, they’re especially worried about the younger of the two.
“To me it’s like she wants to sleep with an older guy that’s way past her age group,” the father said. “She’s in love with him.”
Mother testifies in trial of cult leader
The mother two girls the state claims were molested by a self proclaimed messiah testified against him Tuesday morning in Taos.
The mother of the girls, who Eyewitness News 4 is identifying only as Elsa S., testified Tuesday morning that her oldest daughter feels angry and hurt after the incident and the youngest one has become distant.
“My youngest daughter [name deleted], I feel like I’ve lost her, in a way,” she testified. “My oldest daughter struggles with a lot of different things.”
The mother said that Bent claimed to be the Messiah in 2000 and said that it was good for the women in the cult to be naked with him.
She said she was eventually kicked out of the church and told that she didn’t exhibit the same spirit as Bent.
The father of the two girls also took the stand on Tuesday.
“I feel like he’s still a friend to me, but I don’t trust him because I felt like him and the girls went behind my back to do this thing that God was telling them to do,” said the father who Eyewitness News 4 is identiftying as John S.