TAOS, N.M. (AP) – The leader of an apocalyptic religious sect told a jury Thursday that he lay in bed with and touched the sternums – but the not the breasts – of naked 14- and 16-year-olds.
Wayne Bent said he was careful that the healing exercises with the two sisters on separate occasions were not of a sexual nature.
Ad: Vacation? City Trip? Weekend Break? Book Skip-the-line tickets
“I paid close attention that I never touched any fatty area of the beast,” Bent said. “I am certain of it.”
During an hour on the witness stand, Bent told jurors, “I never touched any fleshy part of the breast.
Bent, 67, a self-described Messiah and leader of The Lord Our Righteousness Church, is faces two counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
The defense rested Thursday. Closing statements are expected Friday.
The court also heard testimony from Dr. Stephen O’Leary, who said ancient Christians would lie naked in bed together to test their celibacy.
Sect member defends church leader
TAOS, N.M. (AP) – A member of the religious sect whose leader is on trial for sexual contact with two teenage sisters testified today that Wayne Bent doesn’t coerce members of the church.
Gabriel Travesser — who has known Bent for more than 30 years — describes him as a spiritual shepherd and a guide.
Travesser says Bent wasn’t a dictator and didn’t make decisions for the 45 people who live in the remote northern New Mexico compound called Strong City.
Travesser describes Bent as “a man who would do whatever God told him at any cost to himself.”
He says Bent’s prosecution is part of that cost.
Book skip-the-line tickets to the worlds major religious sites — or to any other place in the world.
We appreciate your support
One way in which you can support us — at no additional cost to you — is by shopping at Amazon.com.
Our website includes affiliate links, which means we get a small commission — at no additional cost to you — for each qualifying purpose. For instance, as an Amazon Associate Religion News Blog earns from qualifying purchases. That is one reason why we can provide this service free of charge.