Random thoughts on a variety of subjects
By Sam Redman
Yesterday, I learned that the request in the Wayne Bent case for release on bond during appeal was denied. If you recall, Wayne Bent is the New Mexico religious leader serving ten years after conviction on a sex charge which was in the news a while back. Hearing that result caused me to reflect again on the peculiarities of that trial.
After studying the transcripts and listening to testimony, I have come to the conclusion that this case was lost by a very poor defense effort. Ms. Montoya took an approach often relied upon by attorneys who lack the skills to properly defend their clients, that the best technique is to simply try to distort any facts which would bring about their client’s demise. Her strategy was to fracture the truth about everything she felt would influence the jury negatively. It obviously didn’t “fly.” .
She was actually willing in her concluding statements to misrepresent the meaning of the law to the jury, to “fast talk” them, so that they would only focus on the phrase prior to the word “or” in the judge’s instructions.
Montoya: And I disagree with what the State is trying to sell you. Because what the Judge said is, “The law is as I will tell you in these instructions.” And what did he tell you? “For the act to have been unlawful, it must have been done with the intent to arouse or gratify sexual desires.”
But, the judge actually said this (emphasis added):
Judge Baca: For the act to have been unlawful, it must have been done with the intent to arouse or gratify sexual desire
done to intrude upon the bodily integrity or personal safety of (the victim).
The lie tactic, while not only illegal and immoral, is ill-conceived. The lies offered in this trial were all so very obvious to anyone who even casually looks at this situation. Her approach was to repeatedly encourage her witnesses to misrepresent, leading her one sympathetic victim, called, “Healed,” to give false testimony several times, by contradicting what she had already truthfully said in her direct testimony (the “corrected” versions were so apparent to anyone as being falsehoods). The old excuse that a defense attorney is obligated to use all means to defend her client is not valid when the tactic is misrepresentation of facts. That’s really why she lost. Lies are easily seen through (people have built-in lie detection meters, often called, “common sense” or “intuition” or in cruder terminolgy, “BS detectors”). But, in spite of that, she built her case around lies. The consequence is that Bent is serving ten years.
A good attorney would have first asked the question, “What is the truth?” and then worked out a defense strategy to present that truth in the best light.
Ten lies used in the trial —
1. The lie: That the laying naked wasn’t really skin-to-skin. The truth: One of the victims exposed that lie in her writings and on the stand. She, point blank, stated it was skin to skin with both she and Bent having no clothes on.
2. The lie: That Bent is not the leader. The truth: He is and always was the absolute leader. His suggestions and his implied remarks were (and are) taken by his followers as his commands. They regard him as “God.”
3. The lie: That the term “messiah” just meant anyone anointed and not the promised returning, Christ, the Son of God. The truth: Being the returning Messiah (the actual mind and being that was in Jesus, now being in Bent) was the major part of his Strong City charade… there were literally thousands of pages written about it. The truth is that Bent’s actual “message” was always consistent in his writings. He always wrote that he was literally the returning of the spirit and being of the actual Jesus Christ from 2000 years ago. He specifically told his followers that he was the long awaited second coming.
4. The lie: That Wayne wasn’t claiming to be “The” Son of God and he just taught that everyone is “a” son of God. The truth: Since 2000, when Wayne announced he was the returning Son of God, he continued to overtly maintain that he is and all of his followers still believe completely that he is not just “a” son of God, but “the” Son of God (the one Christians teach about and look forward to returning).
5. The lie: This laying naked was not about sex. The truth: Bent based his ministry on what he defined as divine sexual pursuits, starting with his teachings from the biblical book, the Song of Solomon. It has been “all about sex” for years, starting in 2000 with his sex with two married women, whom he took as his mistresses. His ministry involved sex with eventually a total of seven (or eight) legal aged women and Bent directly stated that the underaged girls were planned for sexual intercourse in his booklet called “The Vision.” Although the law states that touching of intimate parts of minors didn’t need to be for sexual gratification for conviction, the defense (and Bent) still presented the lie that it was “not about sex,” to try to confuse the jury with a lie about a lie (the second lie by Montoya to the jury that a conviction had to be about sexual gratification). Numerous of Bent’s own writings and those done by the various women he dallied with… explain that this ministry was largely about Wayne (as the Messiah) fulfilling some imagined biblical prophesies by having erotic sex (as in the book of Solomon) with all of these girls and women. And most conclusively, Bent even defined his plan of salvation for mankind that it was a requirement (to avoid damnation) that you believe that Bent having sex with all these women was ordained by God. “Not about sex” was probably the most signficant of all the lies.
6. The lie: He didn’t touch any part of the breast. The truth: His own testimony on the stand and the video which the defense showed in the summation, illustrating hand placement, both showed that his hand location could not avoid touching a naked breast.
7. The lie: –Religion freedom would permit laying naked as a healing exercise, so there was no crime. —Laying naked was done because it is a crime (done to offend) as a divine plan. The truth: Can’t be both. But, religious freedom would not permit illegal touching of a minor and the second statement is actually an admission of guilt and admission that the crime was committed knowing the consequences.
8. The lie: It was a healing exercise. The truth: The healing explanation was an afterthought in their online writings after the criminal investigation and the legal proceedings had started. Refer to point 5 for the truth of what this was really “about.”
9. The lie: There was no grooming. The truth: There was grooming for many, many years, not only by Bent, but by his two older mistresses, who assisted him in acquiring his younger sexual recruits (one was even the daughter of one of those older sexual partners). Bent told in his booklet, “The Vision” that it was God’s command that he would have sex with all the virgins including the under-aged ones and so these preliminary activities, such as laying naked, were all part of the sequence leading to it. The legal aged virgins, who did subsequently have sex with Bent, all laid naked with him first, just like the under-aged ones did, in preparation for the fulfilling what Bent wrote was God’s commandment (to have sex will all seven virgins).
Here is a Wayne Bent quote from “The Vision” – this tells tells the “real” story:
I had considered long and hard why the Father would want me to have intimate sexual relations with seven virgins. It was a mystery to me. Then it came to me that the earth would be judged by this proposal. I would be accused of pornography or molestation because one or two of the virgins might be under age.
Why did the Father arrange for two of the messengers to be under age? If all of the messengers had been over age, then I would only be accused of sexual perversion, but sexual perversion of itself is not illegal. The country is full of it. What was being proposed by God was something illegal, because the girls had not yet reached the age of 18, and that lent force to Satan’s arguments against it.
The Father then said to me that man had created the under age myth out of his own evil heart. God decreed a young woman of age when she begins her menstrual cycle. But men decided that that was too young because their own hearts were evil. Men made a law that the age that God decreed for a woman to marry and be a mother was invalid. The world made up its own laws. There is nothing in Scripture anywhere that decrees a woman is “of age” when she is 18. It was all made up out of the mind of man.
10. The lie: It was merely the girls’ idea to lay naked with him, just coming from a supernatural voice. The truth: Wayne and his older sex partners taught and enticed the younger women and, further, Wayne told them (in a posting called, “The Way of a Man with a Maid” that they had to be the initiators of sexual requests), In addition, in the BBC video, one girl told how she came to Wayne and said she wanted to strip naked and then he told her to come get in his bed with him. She stated that “it never crossed her mind” to do that, proving that the laying in bed with Wayne was not something put in the girl’s mind by God, but directly by Wayne Bent.
And there is one more lie. The contrived movie (with Streisand music, used without permission) shown at the trial was also deceptive. Obviously, those people had clothing on, so it wouldn’t have been even similar to a naked session, but what made this even more mendacious was that Montoya in her summation indicated that these were “unpracticed. It’s something he just does with everyone. It wasn’t staged.” However, those shots of him touching people on the chest were actually mostly posed after the criminal charges were filed. The trial movie’s chest touching scenes had been clipped from another movie they made in the summer, which had excerpts from the, “Jesus of Nazareth” film (used without permission), where the actor playing Jesus used a similar hand placement motion to greet the actors playing his disciples. Bent actually did his phony hand on heart characterization, pretending like he was the actor who played Jesus and his followers played roles pretending to be like those movie characterizations of disciples. So the movie shown in the trial was a scam, presenting fiction as reality.
And while the case was apparently lost because of Montoya’s purposeful strategy to lie, most likely it was Bent was calling the shots. After all, also contrary to one of the lies, he was the absolute leader and still envisions himself as the man (or the archangel) with all the answers. He defined himself as author of the strategy with his lies on the stand, including (among others) misrepresenting his position of leadership with his members and disavowing his claims to being “The Messiah.” . Montoya just continued it.
But, lies are detectable merely by people’s perceptive capacities. The jury just wasn’t fooled.
Montoya’s best approach would have been “the truth.”
It seems apparent that a truthful approach might have cleared him. She made a cardinal mistake that many attorneys (and many children make) and that is to deny everything. Instead, she should have admitted to facts (called stipulation) which are obvious and then directed all of her case toward proving just the one point which would have avoided conviction.
The defense tactic should have been –
1. To admit that certainly he was in charge and emphasized that he was always a responsible leader. She should have had witnesses saying that he was the authority, the ruler, the absolute commander… but, that (and give several instances) that he was, without question, a righteous leader. Montoya worked heavily throughout the trial to try to get the jury to “buy” that he wasn’t the leader and had witnesses to try to prove that he wasn’t in charge and repeated that he wasn’t from the opening remarks through the two girls cross exams all the way to her summary. “Yeah… right,” is what any reasonable person would say (and the jury did).
2. To admit that this was not about religious freedom (just walked away from that)… in fact, conceding, Chavez’s point, that it wouldn’t matter what your religion says, you can’t violate the law. But, she should have said further, that even hinting or thinking that this is about religious freedom is really irrelevant, because sexual crimes are forbidden in Wayne’s religion too and he wouldn’t violate his own religion. But, Montoya kept this line up and even had a wacky new age religion guy testifying that some wierd religious cults did sexual things. Had she taken the approach that this was not about religious freedom, she could say that, “Sure what he was doing was a religious exercise, because everything he did with the people was… but, that they aren’t using that as an excuse, because he didn’t commit a crime and it needs no excuse.”
3. To emphasize that he certainly “allowed” them to come in, because he was doing a religious exercise, and knew not to abuse or touch inappropriately, but it was just to heal. She tried that some… but, it got confusing, because at the same time she was denying so many other points (not the leader, other cults have sex as part of their religion, etc) which were so obviously her feeble (yet insistent) attempts at deception. Staying “on message” is the way to win cases. This one “message” that he was doing a simple religious practice got lost with all of the other testimony about other subjects.
4. To have spent all her arguments on only one concept that the only crime is touching the nipple. This one distinction would have freed him and it is the only one about the wording of the law that was (and is) a matter of opinion. Had she been able to create doubt on this, she could have gotten an acquittal. She should have concentrated every effort (and called every expert who would agree) that touching the nipple area was what is meant in that governing New Mexico law as only what could be defined as intimate.
Ironically, that biblical principle which says,“The truth shall set you free,” could have enabled Bent to walk out of that courtroom. But alas, they chose the lie and they have continued to maintain those lies as Bent now lanquishes in his prison cell.