11 Dec 2008

Teens testify in cult leader’s molestation trial

KOB Eyewitness News4 - New Mexico

By: Jeremy Jojola, Eyewitness News 4, and Reed Upton, KOB.com

Two teens who prosecutors say were sexually fondled by the leader of a northern New Mexico cult testified Wednesday morning.
Wayne Bent, the leader of a Union County cult that calls itself The Lord Our Righteousness Church, is standing trial in Taos.
During the third day of the trial, the 14- and 16-year-old girls told jurors that they had been naked in bed with Bent but denied that anything sexual occurred.
The older girl testified that Bent kissed her several time on the lips and breasts while she was naked.
A child abuse expert also testified and said that Bent may have preyed on the two teenage girls like a sex predator.
"These girls seemed to have been possibly groomed by him in a way that a sex predator does and that is developing their trust in him by being kind and loving and mild gentle," said Dr. Elizabeth Dinsmore.
Bent, a self proclaimed Messiah, has said that the incidents were not sexual in nature but, rather, were religious.
On Tuesday, the girls’ mother, who has been kicked out of the cult, testified that the older girl has become angry and hurt since the incidents and the youngest girl has become distant.
Bent is expected to take the stand later in the trial.
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