Hunger-striking cult leader may eat again

KOB News 4, New Mexico/January 2, 2009

Cult leader and convicted child molester Wayne Bent said he is on a hunger strike that will eventually kill him--but he may have had a change of heart.

Bent, the leader of an apocalyptic cult in northern New Mexico, told a judge this week he would only serve several days of his 10-year-sentence. The self-proclaimed messiah has not been eating, saying he will die behind bars.

Throughout his trial, the 67-year-old sect leader repeatedly said he would refuse to eat if he was sent to prison:

"If I go to jail again, I am not going to live there. I will not," he told the court.

Bent hasn't been eating since he entered the prison system on Tuesday. Prison medical staff have been keeping close watch over the cult leader.

Late Thursday, they said Bent may have changed his mind.

"He says he plans to end the religious fast tomorrow (Friday) at noon," said Tia Bland of the New Mexico Department of Corrections. "He did talk to prison staff and shared some sentiments with them. It sort of sounds like he's made peace with the fact that he's in prison and he intends to do his time as comfortably as he can."

Bent went on a hunger strike in April after children were removed from his compound. He subesequently dropped that hunger strike, but said the world would end in October.

Bent could remain at the Los Lunas prison for the next month until the state decides where he should serve his sentence.

Bent was sentenced to 18 years with eight years suspended for felony convictions on one count of criminal sexual contact of a minor and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor Tuesday. At his sentencing, bent maintained that no crime was committed at his Strong City compound. He said a jury of his followers would have agreed.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.