Yet another "Messiah" ....Apocylptic Church
National Briefing | Southwest
New Mexico: 3 Children Are Removed From an Apocalyptic Church
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: May 1, 2008
The state police have removed three children from an apocalyptic church whose leader claims to be the Messiah and acknowledges having sex with some of his followers. The children, two girls and one boy, all younger than 18, were taken from a northeastern New Mexico compound after an April 22 investigation following accusations of inappropriate contact between minors and the adult leader of the Lord Our Righteousness Church, said Romaine Serna, spokeswoman for the State Children, Youth and Families Department. No charges have been filed, she said. The leader, Wayne Bent, 66, who is known in the church as Michael Travesser, established it at a rural site called Strong City, north of Clayton. He said God anointed him Messiah in 2000.
Three teenagers have been removed from a remote New Mexico compound run by a self-described messiah in a new case involving a religious sect and allegations of sex abuse.
This undated photo, supplied by the The Lord Our Righteousness Church, shows group leader Wayne...
This undated photo, supplied by the The Lord Our Righteousness Church, shows group leader Wayne Bent, 66, who is also identified on the church's Web site as Michael Travesser. New Mexico state police have removed three children from the church compound following an April 22, 2008, investigation.
(The Lord Our Righteousness Church/AP Photo)The three teens, a 16-year-old boy, a 16-year-old girl and a 13-year-old girl, were taken into custody over a three-day period starting April 22. They had been living at a compound called Strong City, home to the Lord of Our Righteousness Church.
"The state police are investigating what has happened there," Peter Olsen, public safety spokesman in New Mexico, confirmed to ABC News. "State police were there to make sure the kids were safely removed and that there was no trouble."
Romaine Serna, a spokeswoman for the state's Children, Youth and Families Department, said that the state is looking into the best options for the children. "We have three children in custody," she said. "The information we have is there are other young adults residing at the compound."
Did Officials Mess Up the Polygamy Bust?WATCH: Warren Jeffs Faces Life in PrisonWATCH: Heaven's Gate, 10 Years LaterChild welfare officials will work with the district attorney in Union County, N.M., as the criminal investigation continues. "We're conducting a thorough assessment," Serna told ABC News. "We did receive information alleging inappropriate contact with minors on the compound."
Serna would not say who provided her department with the tip, but said it came from a "very reliable source."
"From a child protective standpoint, our concern is the parental role where the parents, either by neglect or active participation, abandoned or neglected a child," she said.
It's not the first time police have been to Strong City. The FBI, state police, local law enforcement and social workers went to the compound, run by sect leader Michael Travesser and his followers, in 2002 when rumors circulated that the group was planning a mass suicide. No suicides took place, no arrests were made, and no children were taken into custody, according to state police and child protective services.
In the current case, Serna said, concern is focused more on the parents of the teens taken into custody than the group's leader.
Travesser, who also goes by the name Wayne Bent, broke from the Seven Day Adventist church in 1987 to form his Lord of Our Righteousness Church. On the group's Web site, Travesser, 66, describes being annointed the messiah by God in 2000, shortly after moving to the New Mexico property in the state's northeastern corner.
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