New Mexico. sect leader, jailed awaiting court appearance, refuses food

Associated Press/May 7, 2008

Santa Fe - Authorities says a self-described Messiah arrested for alleged sex crimes against minors remains jailed today and he's refusing to eat or drink.

Wayne Bent is in the city-county jail Clayton, awaiting his first court appearance.

The leader of an apocalyptic sect headquartered in a remote area near the New Mexico-Colorado line, Bent was charged this week with three counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

An affidavit for the arrest warrant accuses the 66-year-old Bent of touching three underage female followers, 1 of whom was 12, when they lay naked with him.

Police Chief Scott Julian says Bent has turned down food and water since he was jailed, including tonight's dinner.

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