NM cult leader arrested for failure to appear

Associated Press/October 31, 2008

Las Vegas, New Mexico - The leader of an apocalyptic sect who is accused of sex crimes against underage female followers has been arrested for failing to appear in court.

State District Judge Gerald Baca had asked Wayne Bent to attend a hearing after Bent promised to stop cooperating with court proceedings. Baca issued a bench warrant when Bent didn't show up.

Union County sheriff's deputies arrested Bent yesterday at his compound, Strong City, in northeastern New Mexico.

Baca ordered Bent taken to a medical center in Clayton for evaluation before going to jail.

Bent was indicted last spring on two counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He has claimed that the touching was nonsexual and a "healing" measure.

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