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Judge sets Wayne Bent’s bond at $150,000 (VIDEO & PODCAST)

Update:  (July 23): Attorney:  Don’t fringe on religeous freedom (The Raton Range)

The Raton Range delivers excellent coverage of Wayne Bent’s July 18 arraignment.  The newspaper launches into the story with this lead paragraph:

The attorney for the leader of what many people refer to as a cult that maintains its compound northeast of Des Moines told a judge in Raton Friday that Wayne Bent’s practice of lying with naked children is a “religeous healing practice” and has no sexual connotations. –The Raton Range

NEW (July 21): DA: Bent has “50/50” chance of 2008 trial date (includes PODCAST with DA Donald Gallegos)

NEW (July 18 news story) : *VIDEO* from inside the courtroom:

(Update: July 18, 4:15pm PST) Earlier this afternoon, some of you e-mailed me to ask if Wayne Bent was in custody.  In my effort to track down an answer to that question, I ultimately spoke with someone who should know the answer:  Sgt. Bobbie Long of the Clayton Police Department.

Long is very familiar with the city/county holding cells where Bent would be held “if” he were in custody.  In fact, this is the same facility that held Bent in early May.

Based on my conversation with Sgt. Long, it does not appear Bent is in custody.  Long had several interesting things to say. And she allowed me to record our phone conservation for the purpose of the podcast you will find in the following mp3:

Sgt. Bobbie Long (mp3)
Sgt. Bobbie Long (mp3)

I imagine it’s possible that new and more precise information about the case has hit the wires & news Web sites since I began working on this podcast earlier this afternoon. Any corrections, clarifications and updates will be provided here after I get a chance to scour the news Web sites.

(Update, July 18, 2:17pm PST) I’ve attempted to reach Wayne Bent’s attorney, Sarah Montoya, for comment on this story.  Montoya’s colleague, DJ Martinez, explained that Montoya has left the office due to an urgent family matter.

(Update, July 18, 1:51pm PST) Court Document:  Arraignment Order and Conditions of Release

Page 1
Page 1
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(Update, July 18,  1:38pm PST) Listen to Union County Court’s Deputy Clerk Karen Vieites read Wayne Bent’s conditions of release conditions of release.

Still more to come…

(Update, July 18, 1:27pm PST) Bent’s bond: $150,000 “unsecured”.  I also have the conditions of release…will publish here shortly.  Plus more.

Please stay tuned.

(Update, July 18, 1:11pm PST) Still don’t have the “nuts and bolts” concerning what happened at this morning’s arraignment.  State’s lead investigator on the Bent case, Dave Oliphant, has just told me that any specifics about Wayne Bent’s arraignment must come from District Attorney Donald Gallegos.

Person answering phone at Mr. Gallegos’s office tells me Mr. Gallegos is out of the office and won’t be back until Monday.  I do, however, have a cell number for Mr. Gallegos.  I’ve left a voice mail on Mr. Gallegos’s cell number requesting a return call regarding the Bent arraignment.

Lead investigator Oliphant was able to share with me that Senior Trial Prosecutor Amelio Chavez filled-in this morning for an ailing Assistant District Attorney Thomas Benavitez.

Oliphant also shared that Mr. Bent was represented by public defender Sarah Montoya.

Please stay tuned….
(Update, July 18, 12:21pm PST) Still working to get the details of this morning’s arraignment.  I’ve been in contact with District Courts in Union and Colfax counties.  I’m also waiting to hear back from person with the DA’s office.

Employee at clerk’s office in Raton (Colfax County) explained that the information is not in their local system and must be forwarded by Judge Gerald E. Baca to Union County Courthouse (Clayton).  Apparently, the judge hasn’t done this yet and is presently on the bench hearing other cases. Judge is expected to be on the bench throughout this afternoon.  A very busy Friday for the judge, no doubt.

Deputy Clerk at Union County Courthouse says she has yet to receive word from Raton concerning outcome of today’s arraignment.

Hoping to make contact with DA person soon.  He’s been en route from Raton to Clayton since the conclusion of this morning’s arraignment.

Please stay tuned…

(July 18, 10:22am PST) An employee in the Clerk’s Office at the State District Courthouse in Raton, New Mexico confirms that this morning’s arraignment of church leader Wayne Bent has concluded.

Employee did not have information concerning the outcome of the arraignment.

Please stay tuned…

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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.

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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 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 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 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!“)

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Wayne Bent writes about sex crime charges and life in jail

Prisoners at Guantanamo Bay detention campOnly a few hours after his release from jail, a message from Wayne Bent (aka Michael Travesser) appeared on his church’s Web site.

In the May 9, 2008 entry titled, Letter From Michael To His Family, Bent says he was well-treated while in jail but that the “bitter” part of the experience came when he “learned the name of the person who reported” that he had “sexually molested” her.

Here is an excerpt from Bent’s May 9, 2008 post:

The bitter part of jail came in the form of information. I learned the name of the person who reported that I had sexually molested her. This broke my heart entirely. She is a young person who joined the family of those who hate me with a very deep and personal hate. I have to say that I never expected that this little person would concoct an outright lie about me. I have not spoken to her personally, but I was told that her lie is the basis for all of the charges against me. This one lie has caused those in authority to disbelieve all of the other testimonies counter to her lie. This was my heartbreak. And I wept in great sorrow over it. How does one fight a liar, and one who has confessed at being one? I doubt that a court will solve this problem. It is not unusual for a soul to make up a complete falsehood just to crucify an enemy, but it does show just what happened to Jesus. People who said they heard him say it, declared that he said that he was going to destroy the temple in three days. They killed him over the lies that were told. His offense was larger than mine, for the temple was much more regarded as an offense than sex with a girl. He was falsely charged with blasphemy, but I have only been falsely charged with molestation of a minor. Even so, it is a deep sore to my soul, how utterly dark one can finally become. The charges against me were utterly contrived, but I am not quite ready to blame it all on this person, for I have witnessed first hand the utter depravity of those who manipulate people to get them to say things a certain way. This happened with CYFD, the state police, and other particular souls involved in the “investigation,” which is no investigation at all, but merely a form of witchcraft against the Son of God.

Mahmoud AhmadinejadBent’s brief, but apparently profound jail experience, also includes empathy for some prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp and for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

I felt for Saddam Hussein, who was hung for lesser crimes than George Bush has committed. I felt for the President of Iran who is also falsely accused.

The entirety of Wayne Bent’s Letter From Michael To His Family can be read here.

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Wayne Bent’s bond posted by son

Ambulance called prior to Bent’s release
Wayne Bent bonds out of jail


From the Assocated Press:

SANTA FE, N.M. – Authorities say the leader of an apocalyptic sect in northeastern New Mexico has been released from jail after his son posted his bond.

The clerk of the magistrate court in Clayton said a $55,000 bond was posted for Wayne Bent. He was released Friday afternoon.

Bent is accused of sex crimes against young female followers. His sect lives on a compound called Strong City in a remote area near the New Mexico-Colorado line.

At first court appearance on Thursday, his bond was lowered from $500,000.

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Larry King Live *VIDEO*: “Inside a Doomsday Cult”

New Update: ( May 25, 2008 ) A reader of this blog has correctly pointed-out today that the Larry King Live videos are no longer available. Turns out the person who had posted these videos on Youtube has had his account suspended.

Update: Rush transcript of Larry King Live program


Here is a look (below) at last night’s Larry King Live program concerning Wayne Bent and The Lord Our Righteousness Church. The program appears here in 5 parts.

Larry King’s panel:

  • Jeff Bent, son of church leader Wayne Bent
    -“First of all, he’s not Jesus Christ.”
    -says documentary’s claim that father had predicted “the end of the world” is a lie
  • Prudence Welch
    -much more from Welch in my interview with her here.
  • Rachel Bernstein, psychotherapist & “cult expert”
    -“I see him (Wayne Bent) in the candy store of his own making.
  • Ben Anthony (film producer)
    -“Unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.”
    -“…also quite a disturbing experience…”
  • Allen Armstrong, Former Minister of Bent/Travesser’s Church
  • Matt Grubs, KOAT-TV reporter
  • Capt. Robert Shilling, New Mexico State Police
    -says W. Bent’s bail reduced from $500,000 to $50,000 at Thursday’s arraignment

This program begins with an update on the Texas polygamy case making news in recent weeks. Guests are Rod Parker (spokesperson for Yearning for Zion Ranch familes) and KTVK-TV reporter Mike Watkiss.

This program concludes with Anderson Cooper promoting his AC 360 look at developments in the “cult-like” Charles Manson case.

(*clicking play button at lower left of video window conveniently keeps you here. Clicking play button in center of video takes you to youtube)

What do you think of what came out of this program? You’re comments are welcome below.

(*After searching the ‘net this morning, I found that “torbenmiller” had uploaded these videos on youtube. Thank you, torbenmiller.)

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