Mother testifies in trial of cult leader

KOB News, New Mexico/December 9, 2008

The mother two girls the state claims were molested by a self proclaimed messiah testified against him Tuesday morning in Taos.

Wayne Bent, the leader of a Union County cult that calls itself The Lord Our Righteousness Church, is charged with lying naked with the two underage girls and touching their breasts.

Bent has maintained that the episode at the cult's Strong City compound north of Clayton was religious and healing in nature, not sexual.

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.

The two girls, aged 14 and 16, are expected to take the stand later in the trial.

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