NM high court rejects sect leader's bond petition

Associated Press/October 27, 2009

Santa Fe, New Mexico - New Mexico's highest court has denied sect leader Wayne Bent's petition to be released on bond from prison while he appeals his convictions for sexual misconduct with teenage female followers.

The Supreme Court denied the petition without explanation, as had the Court of Appeals.

Bent is serving 10 years for criminal sexual contact of a minor and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

The leader of The Lord Our Righteousness Church says the touching was part of a religious healing ritual and there was no sexual activity.

Bent was sentenced in December. He has been fasting, and his lawyer says he is being fed through a tube. A judge cleared the way for that last month.

The court's ruling on Monday was announced Tuesday by the attorney general.

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