Leader of Apocalyptic Sect Convicted of 3 Counts

TAOS, N.M. (AP) - The leader of an apocalyptic religious group has been convicted of criminal sexual contact of a minor andcontributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Wayne Bent, the self-described Messiah and leader of The Lord Our Righteousness Church, claimed that his contact with naked girls was a non-sexual spiritual healing that they had requested.

After the verdict, he declared, "Just as with Jesus, they've convicted an innocent man."

The 67-year-old Bent was allowed to return to his group's compound near Clayton, New Mexico, pending sentencing. He could face a dozen years in prison.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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