Another Hurdle for Bent

Attorney General Gary King’s office is opposing Wayne Bent’s petition to the state Supreme Court for bond while awaiting appeal. Bent’s previous filings on district and state levels were both denied.

Bent is the spiritual leader of Strong City, a religious group living in the northeast corner of New Mexico. The Children, Youth and Families Department removed four minors from the property in 2008. Bent was convicted of two counts contributing to the delinquency of a minor and one count criminal sexual contact with a minor in a widely publicized case last year. On Jan. 5, Bent filed an appeal, which has been placed on the state Court of Appeals' general calendar.

Assistant Attorney General Margaret McLean asks the Supreme Court to uphold the previous courts’ rulings. She cites no “clear and convincing” evidence that Bent, Strong City leader, won't flee or pose danger to another person or community. She also says a reversal or order for a new trial is unlikely and argues there are no grounds to revisit granting an appeal bond.

The Attorney General's response was filed Thursday in Santa Fe.

Earlier this year Bent and his church granted the Alibi extensive interviews and access to Bent’s writings.

Bent’s attorney John McCall, wrote in an e-mail to the Alibi yesterday that he “filed a 35 page brief with 185 pages of exhibits, including 15 affidavits from individuals around the country who know Mr. Bent to be a person of impeccable integrity worthy of a bond pending resolution of his appeal.”

As further evidence of Bent’s character, he offers, “In addition to this, we note that Mr. Bent was a Seventh Day Adventist Pastor since the early 1970s, he is 68 years old now and he has basically never broken the law in his life or spent a day in jail until now.”

Bent was free on an unsecured bond of $150,000 during the trial and up until sentencing without incident.