Judge Rules In Favor Of Force Feeding Imprisoned Cult Leader

KOAT 7 News, Albuquerque/September 23, 2009

Valencia, New Mexico - On Wednesday, a judge ruled that the jail can force feed cult leader Wayne Bent to keep him alive.

Judge John Pope ruled in favor of the jail force feeding cult leader Wayne Bent in order to save his life. If necessary, prison medical staff could intervene with artificial nutrition and hydration.

The hearing on Wednesday lasted for three hours. Pope said that this case is unique for him. He had to make a decision where Bent's health was weighed against his religious practices.

Many of Bent's cult followers were in court on Wednesday. They brought him orange juice, water and an energy drink and for the first time in three days, Bent took a drink.

He said he would take food and drinks but only if his spiritual family provided it. He said he is not taking foods or drinks from the prison because it is part of an institution that wrongly convicted him of a sex crime in December 2008.

Bent's attorney tried to get the judge to allow cult followers to prepare food and bring it to his client in jail. The judge ruled against that and said that would cause chaos and prison guards would have to be food inspectors.

"I would rather my father died than to have his body invaded by people poking tubes and hoses in him against his will," said Jeff Bent, Wayne's son.

Wayne Bent maintains that he was healing a naked girl, not engaging in a sexual act with her.

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