Wayne Bent's Hunger Strike

KOAT TV News, New Mexico/September 22, 2009

Albuquerque, New Mexico - Cult leader Wayne Bent is scheduled to be in court on Wednesday as a judge decides whether the state should force feed him.

Bent wrote letters to his cult in Union County letting them know that he will begin fasting on Sept. 1.

His fourth week of fasting is fast approaching, he will not have any food or water. Now the state is rushing a decision to intervene and force feed him with IVs and tubes.

Medical experts said that within seven days of no water, his organs will begin to break down.

Jeff Bent said his father is doing this for other people, for them and for the values that he has.

"For him to continue to accept food from the state. It is essentially, in his mind, bowing down to an idol. So that's why on religious grounds he can no longer accept food from the state," said Jeff Bent.

Jeff Bent said the state needs to accept his father's wishes and religious practices and not force him to eat.

"To me, that is rape. To force feed somebody is rape. It's legal rape," said Jeff Bent.

In December 2008, a jury convicted Wayne Bent of a sex crime. Bent then argued that he was healing a naked girl, not engaging in a sexual activity.

An Attorney for the Department of Corrections told Action 7 News that people need to serve their prison sentence even if they don't think they are guilty, and they cannot be a part of his suicide attempt.

Policies at Bent's prison does not allow outside food or drink to be brought in. If the judge overrules that policy, Bent's followers said they are ready to prepare food for their leader for the next decade until he is released.

Attorneys for the state want the hearing to be closed to the public. Jeff Bent wants every level of the hearing to be open and said that his father will sign any necessary release to make that happen.

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