Categories
7 virgins AP Associated Press Beyond 90 Seconds breaking news Child Protective Services churches Clayton CPS crimes against children cults fast fasting Grand Jury Las Cruces Sun-News law enforcement Michael Travesser New Mexico News polygamy religeon seven virgins Strong City The Lord Our Righteousness Church true crime Union County video virgin virgins Wayne Bent Willow youtube

Bent’s Web site, “New Mexico returns Willow”

Update (July 17): This is a second version of the Strong City video concerning Willow’s return home.  It runs 3:35, just over a minute longer than the earlier version:

Update (June 18): The following video of Willow’s return to the Strong City church property in northeastern New Mexico was posted on youtube today (runs 2:42):


Update: Associated Press updates its story with a correction.
Update: LOR’s Web site has posted video of child’s return to Strong City.
Update: Here is a link to an Associated Press article published in The Las Cruces Sun-News.

(June 17, 10:41am PST) From the Web site of The Lord Our Righteousness church leader Wayne Bent:

At 10:32 A.M. today, Tuesday June 17th, the case for Willow Dawn Travesser was dismissed by the State of New Mexico, and Willow was released out of State custody back to her parents. She is on her way home now, and will come to Strong City for a meal with the family. My fast will end today when I see her face.

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

Categories
7 virgins Beyond 90 Seconds churches Clayton Commentary cults fast fasting Michael Travesser New Mexico News Prudence Welch seven virgins Strong City The Lord Our Righteousness Church true crime Union County Wayne Bent

“Time-out” for Bent threads (except here)

Update: (June 17, 10:41am PST)Bent’s Web site:  “New Mexico returns Willow

Update (June 13, 12:22pm PST): I have decided to keep the comment sections on the Wayne Bent stories closed. If you’d like an explanation, you may read one here.

Commentary

With the hit-counter on this blog soaring (by its humble standards) this afternoon, one might wonder why I’ve just snuffed a primary source of its fuel supply.

For the unacquainted, allow me to first explain that two sides of a controversial story making national headlines recently converged in the comment sections of this blog (*as they have on several other blogs). I’m referring to the Wayne Bent (aka Michael Travesser) story. Bent is the leader of The Lord Our Righteousness Church in northeastern New Mexico. A grand jury indicted Bent last month, charging him with crimes against children. Bent’s son posted his bond (a reader of this blog, “Terry,” reports that the bond money has been returned to the Bents).

You can learn more about the case in stories written on this blog (and the comments from readers). A Google search will also yield many other useful links, to include two Web sites with opposing viewpoints: Wayne Bent’s site strongcity.info and former church member Prudence Welch’s site, travesser.info.

Both Bent and Welch have left comments here. Welch also agreed to an interview.

On June 8th, I suspended the comments on all of the Wayne Bent stories. Simply put, personal attacks were appearing with increasing frequency.

A few readers from both sides of the debate wrote to me, asking that I re-open the comment sections. I agreed to do so. I do value input from readers, and I have appreciated that members of two sides of a controversial–and important–story felt comfortable coming to the same blog.

I have also noted that many of your comments have provided new insights into the story at hand. Much of what readers have written here has also been skillfully and thoughtfully crafted.

Today, the comments were coming in so quickly I found it challenging to keep up with them and the e-mails from readers expressing their disapproval that certain comments had already survived 15-minutes on this blog without my having extinguished the unwelcome verbiage. “Inappropriate,” some argued, as well as, “crosses the line,” etc.

I just know I couldn’t be an effective referee while the comments were pouring in at such a fast rate; thus, my decision–once again–to suspend the comments on these threads. A “time out,” if you will.

As for the standard I have set for your comments (no personal attacks), some have suggested that I have set an unobtainable goal. Perhaps they’re right.

However, I would like to read how you feel about this topic. Should the comments remain open or closed? Why? Why not?

(Deep breath) Okay, here we go…

(*edit: information about two-sides appearing on several other blogs added after original version of this story appeared)

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

Categories
7 virgins churches cults KOB law enforcement Michael Travesser New Mexico News religeon Strong City true crime Union County virgin virgins Wayne Bent

New Mexico church leader now fasting

(*note: the headline to this story originally used the words “hunger strike” instead of “fasting”. The former headline had been written minutes after Wayne Bent published his post. I had not read Bent’s entire post. While some may debate “hunger strike” vs. “fasting,” I feel fairness calls for the word “fasting” in this story’s headline. I apologize for any confusion. -Mark Horner)

Strong City leader Wayne Bent says he is now fasting and will continue to do so until a girl taken by the state from his church’s property is returned to her parents.

Here is an excerpt from Wayne Bent’s post published on his Web site around 4:15pm today:

Today, I began a fast, as I did when I was in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. I will now abstain from eating until the child Willow is returned with no strings attached, or until God brings the deliverance that I seek from the present evil, or the answer to my inquiry of justice is clearly manifested, or I am gone from this life altogether.

On May 20th, 2008, a New Mexico grand jury indicted Bent on four crimes: Two counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor in the second degree, unclothed. And two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

New Mexico State Police arrested Bent May 6th.

After an ambulance responded to the Union County jail, Bent was released from custody May 9th. His son, Jeff Bent, posted the $55,000 bond.

Bent’s story has been featured on several American television programs, including Larry King Live and FOX News. But the story first found an audience in a British documentary last December. A re-edited version of that documentary appeared on the National Geographic Channel earlier this year.

In an e-mail received at 4:17pm today, Jeff Bent tells Beyond90Seconds.com:

The court declined an emergency hearing today regarding the conditions Willow is having to endure at the hands of CYFD. The initial ten day hearing was never completed and we are going on six weeks now since she was taken. The new post gives all the details.

You can read the remainder of Wayne Bent’s pledge to fast here.

###

UPDATE: Here is the story as it appeared on kob.com in Albuquerque, New Mexico on June 7, 2008.

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

Categories
7 virgins Child Protective Services churches Clayton CPS crimes against children cults GMA Good Morning America Jeff Bent law enforcement Mark Horner mp3 New Mexico News polygamy religeon seven virgins Strong City The Lord Our Righteousness Church true crime Union County virgin virgins Wayne Bent

RAW SOUND: Jeff Bent uncut

It’s nearly a month-old, but what is purported to be an unedited (and never-before-heard) audio recording of a television interview with Jeff Bent popped-up on StrongCity.info this morning. According to the Web site, the interview had been taped May 9th for ABC’s Good Morning America.

But the interview never appeared on GMA. More on that in a moment.

The recording that appears here (please hover pointer over photo at left for player) is used with Jeff Bent’s permission.

Jeff Bent is the son of the leader of The Lord Our Righteousness Church, Wayne Bent (aka Michael Travesser).

In a story Beyond90Seconds.com broke May 20th, a New Mexico grand jury indicted Wayne Bent on four charges: Two counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor in the second degree, unclothed. And two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

This morning, I sent an e-mail to Wayne Bent and requested permission to publish the recording on this blog. My e-mail also included the following questions:

1) Did GMA ever broadcast the interview w/Jeff? If not, do you know why?
2) Was it an on-camera interview (as it would appear to have been)?
3) Was the producer (if that is the correct title) who is heard questioning Jeff aware that a representative of your church was also recording the interview?
4) Did your church record the interview as a safeguard to ensure that any presentation of a GMA/ABC story based on this interview was accurately presented?

Wayne Bent referred me to his son.

I received an e-mail from Jeff Bent a bit later this morning. He gave me permission to use the recording.

In his e-mail, Jeff Bent also answered the questions I had first posed to his father. I asked Jeff Bent for his permission to share excerpts of that e-mail here. He has obliged.

Here is most of what Jeff Bent wrote to me this morning:

GMA never broadcasted the interview. The interview took place at 4:20 AM and was initially to be broadcast live on GMA. There was a satellite truck parked outside my house with a live uplink to GMA. Inside my house was a camera crew from Denver, who operated the camera, lighting, and sound equipment. The producer sat across from me. GMA cut away to the story of tornadoes in the midwest, and so the producer said she would ask the questions and the interview would be used later in the broadcast. At the end of the interview, the producer told me she would be taking the video tape back to New York with her and it would be used at a later time.

On Saturday, May 10, the producer emailed me and said my interview would be broadcast the following Monday on GMA. It wasn’t broadcast. The producer explained a couple of weeks later that since I had bailed my father out of jail, the interview had become dated.

This article was posted on the ABC News website and was based upon the interview I gave to GMA…

After the interview we informed the producer that the interview was recorded (Producer is her title, she said she is not a reporter). She did not object or express any reservations about it. The digital recorder was sitting on the counter-top next to where she was seated and in plain site.

Our motives for recording were simply to provide a record of the event, and to provide an opportunity for others in the land to listen to what was said. All news outlets spin the story in a way that will get ratings, and if we didn’t want that to happen, we wouldn’t speak to them at all.

*editor’s note: It’s my hope that Beyond90Seconds.com hasn’t “spun” this story to get ratings (more accurately, readers). The intent here is to be fair. Perhaps the slogan should be, “So fair, I’m boring!“)

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

Categories
7 virgins churches Clayton cults Grand Jury Michael Travesser New Mexico News polygamy religeon Strong City The Lord Our Righteousness Church Union County virgin virgins Wayne Bent

Wayne Bent reacts to Grand Jury indictment

On his church’s Web site, Wayne Bent has posted his thoughts concerning this week’s Grand Jury indictment charging him with two counts of second-degree sexual contact with a minor and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

In his 30-paragraph-long post, titled Modern Day Witch’s Brew, Bent gives his side of the story and reveals the circumstances which he purports to have unfolded in the commission of the alleged crimes. Clearly, he is maintaining his innocence.

Here are excerpts from Bent’s post:

Will a father be indicted now for incest because his little naked girl runs and jumps into his bed on Sunday morning? Will all massage therapists who only use a sheet to cover the private parts, now be arrested for touching the naked body of the minor who is being massaged? Will a mother be indicted because her naked baby is sucking on her breast, which would be the “intentional causing of a minor to touch one’s intimate parts,” and the mother is enjoying it? Will a mother and father now be indicted because their underaged child is being bathed by them in the nude? Will nurses now be indicted for criminal sexual contact because they are taking care of young naked boys in a hospital room or taking their temperature with a rectal thermometer (“rape including sodomy, any sexual penetration with an object?”) Will mothers now be indicted because a baby is allowed to come through her sexual parts, and spend time there? Will all free women need to have a cesarean operation or be guilty of criminal sexual contact with a minor when the child is born? Will the doctor be indicted who sticks his finger into a minor who is having a baby, in order to check her? I doubt that there will be indictments against most people, because they are not the Sons of God. It will be only the anointed ones, who feel the wrath of the dragon.

In another excerpt, Bent writes:

I would rather die than live any longer in this wicked world of lying, prejudice, persecution, and dark vile sensuality.

And a bit later:

I am ready to be offered, and ready to go. I am so homesick for the songs of the angels and the consciousness of only my Father and those who are in love with Him, and I want to take all of my children with me. We must leave this world behind, or we would spiritually die as the wicked are spiritually dead.

Wayne Bent’s post can be read in its entirety here.

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

Categories
7 virgins churches Clayton Commentary crimes against children cults Grand Jury New Mexico News religeon seven virgins Strong City The Lord Our Righteousness Church Wayne Bent

Will letters written to Grand Jury on Bent’s behalf fall mute?

COMMENTARY

23 carefully thought-out letters were reportedly handed over to a New Mexico District Attorney Monday along with a request that they all be read to a Grand Jury Tuesday.

The letters were written by members of The Lord Our Righteousness Church defending the character–and proclaiming the innocence– of their leader, Wayne Bent (aka Michael Travesser).

Bent is charged with three counts of sexual contact of a minor and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

According to The LOR’s Web site Monday:

…(the letters) were delivered to the district attorney today, along with a request that he read them before the grand jury tomorrow, in accordance with Wayne Bent / Michael Travesser’s Constitutional right to present a defense on his behalf.

Yes, Wayne Bent is certainly entitled to “a defense on his behalf.” However, that typically comes at trial (if there is to be one).

A Grand Jury’s mission is to consider whether the State has presented sufficient evidence for a trial.

That’s it.

It’s often argued that the Grand Jury process severely favors the prosecution (thus, the ol’ “ham sandwich” line).

Doesn’t seem to be in the State’s interest to be reading letters defending their suspect.

Please stay tuned…

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook