(Update: July 10): Arraignment date set for Wayne Bent
(Updated; July 8, 8:18pm PST.)
Beyond90Seconds.com has learned that the New Mexico Supreme Court has assigned Judge Gerald E. Baca to preside over “all matters” concerning the State’s case against controversial church leader Wayne Bent (aka Michael Travesser).
Judge Baca presides in the Fourth Judicial District in Las Vegas, New Mexico.
The court’s decision comes in an Order Designating Judge obtained by Beyond90Seconds.com. The document is dated June 25 and was filed in District Court July 2.
New Mexico State Police arrested Bent May 6 and charged him with three counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor.
In its Arrest Warrant Affidavit, the State named three alleged victims of criminal sexual contact. Two weeks later, a grand jury indicted Bent on two counts of second-degree criminal sexual contact of a minor and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
The grand jury indictment listed two alleged female victims.
On June 17, a 13-year-old girl named Willow was released from State custody. A post on Bent’s Web site stated that “the case for Willow Dawn Travesser was dismissed by the State of New Mexico.”
Willow was allowed to return to her parents and the church’s property known as Strong City.
According to the Associated Press, Willow was not one of the two alleged victims named in the grand jury indictment.
Union County District Court Clerk Karen Vieites tells Beyond90Seconds.com that a trial date in the Bent case has yet to be scheduled. Vieites said no proceedings (e.g., appearances, hearings) have been scheduled in Bent’s case so far. Not surprising, as the State’s Supreme Court assigned the case to Judge Baca just 14 days ago.
Update: July 9, 1:11pm PST
Because the text in two of the pdf files in the above story is less-than-sharp, I’ve decided to make some of those pages available here as jpg images. Text quality should be better here.
(Please click images for access to larger views.)
Order Designating Judge
Arrest Warrant Affidavit