Judge cuts New Mexico cult leader’s prison sentence

wayne bent

Correction: An earlier version of this story said Bent was found guilty of molesting two girls. This story has been corrected to state that Bent was found guilty of one of the two charges of criminal sexual contact.

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A judge has ruled that a cult leader should be released from prison early after he was convicted of sex crimes in 2008.

A jury sentenced 74-year-old Wayne Bent to 10 years in prison after he was found guilty of lying naked in bed with two teenage girls at his northern New Mexico compound. He was found guilty of one count of criminal sexual contact and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

After he was sentenced, Bent addressed the court.

“With all the respect to the court I won’t be serving anytime in prison expect for maybe a few days,” Wayne said.

Wayne was wrong. He’s been in prison for nearly seven years.

Now, a judge has ruled that Bent be released because he’s been diagnosed with skin cancer. The motion states that Bent needs to be released for “further medical treatment,” but that he’d be on supervised probation.

According to court documents, the judge set Bent’s release date for no later than December 31, 2015. However, Bent remains behind bars.

The New Mexico Corrections Department filed a separate motion asking the court to clarify its ruling.

The motion states NMCD “cannot comply with the simplest interpretation of the court’s amended judgement.”

The corrections department said Bent must appear before a parole board before a decision like that can be reached. According to the corrections department, no such hearing has been scheduled.

However, a hearing has been set in order to clarify the judge’s amended motion to release Bent from prison. That hearing is scheduled for Jan 26, 2016.

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