Leader of apocalyptic sect found guilty

TAOS, N.M. (AP) _ Jurors in Taos on Monday convicted the leader of an apocalyptic northeastern New Mexico sect on one count of criminal sexual contact of a minor and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Jurors deliberated for more than five hours Friday without reaching a verdict in the charges against Wayne Bent, and state District Judge Gerald Baca sent them home for the weekend.

Bent, leader of The Lord Our Righteousness Church, faced two counts each of criminal sexual contact of a minor and contributing to the delinquency of a minor in allegations involving 14- and 16-year old sisters in 2006.

Prosecutor Emilio Chavez told jurors the case was not about religion and that Bent must be treated like anyone else. Bent's lawyer, Sarah Montoya, contended the state failed to present evidence needed to convict.