Cult parents felt betrayed

KRQB News, New Mexico/December 9, 2008

Taos, New Mexico - 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."

The girls' mom appears to be especially disappointed with bent.

"I feel like I lost her in a way," the mother said. "My oldest daughter struggles with a lot of different things.

"I feel he violated my trust by doing what he did with my daughters."

The father testified he doesn't hate Bent, but he doesn't trust him with his daughters.

According to Bent's defense attorney the teens feel they are not the victims of any sort of sex crimes.

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