New Mexico state police say they have arrested the leader of an apocalyptic church on sex charges.
State police spokesman Peter Olson says 66-year-old Wayne Bent was picked up without incident Tuesday at the remote former ranch where he and his followers live. He is facing three charges of criminal sexual contact.
Bent goes by the name of Michael Travesser and claims to be the Messiah. State child welfare officials say there have been allegations of inappropriate contact between Bent and children at the northeastern New Mexico compound.
Bent has acknowledged having sex with his followers, but police have not detailed the allegations against him.
Last week, two girls and one boy - all under the age of 18 -
compound following an April 22 investigation, Romaine Serna, spokeswoman for the state Children, Youth and Families Department, said
"There was never any child molestation, or adult molestation by anyone, including myself," Bent wrote in a posting last week on
. "There has never been 'sex with minors' or anything remotely approaching that."
Bent, on an April 27 posting on the Web site, accused the state of kidnapping the children. "My children are kidnapped because some demon wrote a letter to people in authority accusing me of some crimes," he wrote.
"When the state came against our children (seed), the state came against God, and this will NOT ever be forgiven them," he wrote.
In a lengthy discussion dated Sept. 11, 2007, Bent said his work is finished and he does not expect to be "in the earthly sphere" much longer.