Hanifa Travesser's statement of support (updated)
To those who are concerned:
The case of the State of New Mexico vs. Wayne Bent reads like a comedy of errors, and would indeed be laughable were it not for the excruciating consequences of the purposed injustices levied against an innocent man, and the resulting loss of his freedom to live as he was given by his Creator.
One of the basic tenets of the "freedom" and "justice" so highly spoken of in regard to this country's legal system is the presumption of innocence, until proven guilty, of anyone whose actions come under legal scrutiny. While the actual practice of this requirement of due process manifests intermittently, one thing is certain. Should the one under legal scrutiny speak in a manner that offends public perception, whether his words are actually offensive or not; should his actions challenge long held and cherished societal beliefs and norms; should he write publicly of individual, national, corporate or religious abuses that have been disguised as duty, patriotism or righteousness; should this offender be referred to as "the Son of God", or worse yet, "messiah" (anointed one), his chances of being presumed innocent by an offended public, judge, court and jury drops to nearly zero.
Presumption of innocence, a fundamental principle of criminal law, requires the government to prove ["establish facts, authenticate, document"] the guilt of a criminal defendant and relieves the defendant of any burden to prove his own innocence. This due process was manifestly denied Mr. Bent. In all of the testimonies given by the witnesses as to whether Mr. Bent touched them sexually, the answer was clearly "no." No proof of Criminal Sexual Contact of a Minor could be established by the State against Mr. Bent. The burden of proof was not met, and so the State's representative, Mr. Emilio Chavez, resorted to subterfuge in his closing arguments to sway the jury into believing there had been.
Further obstructing the ability of onlookers to presume Mr. Bent innocent, the State and the judge prevented pivotal evidence and witnesses for the defendant from being entered into the official record, deeming them "irrelevant". There are recorded instances from within a pre-trial hearing and within the trial itself, at least 12 times, when the State and/or judge deemed significant defense material as "irrelevant" or dismissed them.
Direct from the trial transcripts, here are a few exchanges that are the proof of what actually took place between Mr. Bent and the minor young women in question:
Prosecution direct of A.S.
http://strongcity2.info/trial/prosdirect_as.html 3Tr82 14-25 to 3Tr83 1
Emilio Chavez: Did he put his hand on your chest?
Emilio Chavez: Where did he put his hand?
A.S.: Right here.
Emilio Chavez: And, and I’m sorry, because there's... everybody is recording this and they have to write it down, can you tell us where, what physical part of your body he put his hand on.
A.S.: Over the heart.
Defense cross of A.S.
http://strongcity2.info/trial/defense_cross_as.html 3Tr87 2-10
Ms. Montoya: Ok. Now I want you to be very clear for the jury. When Wayne Bent touched you, did he touch any of the parts that are covered by this bikini on this doll? Did he touch your body... If you had this bikini on your body... Did he touch your body in any of the spots that would have been covered by this bikini?
Ms. Montoya: Are you sure?
Prosecution direct of L.S.
http://strongcity2.info/trial/prosdirect_ls.html 3Tr27 16-24
Emilio Chavez: During this interaction with Michael, did he ever put his hand on your heart?
Note: Agent Martinez defined "on the heart" in court: 1Tr90 12-18After reading these entries, one who has been newly introduced to this case might ask, "Where's the sex??"
Donald Gallegos: Did he [Mr. Bent] ever indicate to you or show you how he did this touching?
Agent Martinez: Yes, he did.
Donald Gallegos: And if you can, can you describe that in more detail?
Agent Martinez: Well, what he showed us is that he would just get his hand and place it on their sternum area, towards the middle of the chest or what he said, "The heart area."
Ms. Montoya: And did he, or did he not, compare what he did with the girls to that of a doctor?
Agent Martinez: Yes, he did.
Ms. Montoya: Did he, or did he not, tell you that there was nothing sexual about the touching?
Agent Martinez: Correct.
The following exchanges are examples of the minor witnesses' experiences, testifying as to their true nature:
Prosecution direct of A.S
http://strongcity2.info/trial/prosdirect_as.html 3Tr 83 14-15
Emilio Chavez: Did you feel that this was a religious experience?
Prosecution re-direct (by Judge) of A.S
Judge Baca: And when this event occurred.. was it? Did you view it as between yourself a human being and another natural human or a spirit someone related to God?
A.S.: Repeat the question?
Judge Baca: When you went and had this, when the incident occurred between you and Mr. Bent, was this something that occurred between you as a human being and him as a natural man or was it between you and someone who was a spirit of God or son of God or God himself?
A.S.: The spirit of God.
Defense Cross of L.S.
Ms. Montoya: Now this, lay naked, was that a religious ceremony?
Ms. Montoya: And you believed it was a religious experience?
L.S.: Oh, definitely.
Ms. Montoya: Can you describe what was different about you before and after?
L.S.: Well, like I shared earlier, I had a lot of insecurities growing up and it’s like laying naked with Michael gave me an anchor, a security I didn’t have.
Mr. Bent's physical contact with the two
young ladies constituted far less than that of a massage therapist who
touches body parts for physical healing, who sometimes even bumps up against
the edge of sexual parts and sometimes even on minors. Where is the justice
in sentencing Wayne Bent for performing spiritual healing, requested of
him by two young girls, involving non-sexual touching? Where is the justice
in convicting a man of a crime when the clear evidence is that no crime
ever happened, and the only "evidence" that it did are the assumptions
of some people's minds?
This case reveals a seriously flawed system. It was an absence of integrity that insisted that the legal definition of the word "breast" include the entire front upper torso area; that deliberately obfuscates the defining line between a person's chest and their boob, using as their "evidence" the simple, unversed language of a young woman who happened to be not so well educated in anatomical nomenclature. Consider that this minor witness' context of life up to that point had been shaped by instruction in the Word of God. Her education came largely from the Bible in which "breast" is most commonly used to define the front part of a person's body.
He then lying on Jesus’ breast... John 13:25The definition of "breast" that the State continually forced A.S. to "mean" by her use of the word, in order to win the case, was not what she meant when she used the word "breast". She had unmistakably clarified her definition in previous interviews, which the State was painfully all too well aware of, but which they studiously endeavored to keep un-clarified in the trial. In her Discovery Interview on August 14, 2008, by attorney Sarah Montoya, with deputy district attorney Tomas Benavidez present, Ms. Montoya had asked A.S. if Mr. Bent had kissed her on the "pillow portion, that feeds babies, of your breasts; was he kissing those?" A.S. had said, "No." She was then asked to clarify exactly where Mr. Bent had touched her. A.S. said, "Right, right above the breast." Ms. Montoya questioned, "Right above the breast?" A.S. said, "Yeah, when I mean right there, I don’t know what you would call it, the upper breast." Ms. Montoya said, "OK, the clavicle."
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. Luke 18:13
This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,... Daniel 2:32
And in her "Safe Room" interview on April 23, 2008 she had said of Mr. Bent, "But he wouldn’t touch anybody, he wouldn’t touch us sexually..."
But the trial was not about establishing the truth of the matter. It was about getting a conviction, and "what must have happened" was what they were forced to resort to, in the absence of any real evidence. The trial proved that the State was willing to go to whatever dishonest lengths were necessary in order to secure a conviction.
(Taylor v. Kentucky) "The Supreme Court has ruled that… a presumption of innocence jury instruction may be required "if the jury is in danger of convicting the defendant on the basis of extraneous considerations rather than the facts of the case." "Extraneous considerations", in this case, were considerations that had nothing to do with the Criminal Sexual Contact of a Minor charges against Mr. Bent but were interjected to negatively influence the jury's perceptions of him and their subsequent verdict.
The following references from the trial transcripts reveal some of these "extraneous considerations":
Prosecution Cross of Wayne BentPrejudice against Mr. Bent could hardly not have been engendered by these "extraneous considerations," by the prosecution's deliberate use of religiously loaded, controversial and sensational sounding words such as virgins, plagues, messiah and naked, which they repeated over and over throughout the trial. The State repeatedly insisted that this case was "not about religion," and yet the State was the first to introduce the religious concepts of the virgins and the plagues.
Tomas Benavidez: Ok. At one time though were there other ministers in the church?
Wayne Bent: Yeah.
Tomas Benavidez: What happened to them?
Wayne Bent: Well, we...
Ms. Montoya: Objection.
Judge Baca: Yes, what is your objection?
Ms. Montoya: Relevance.
Tomas Benavidez: Your Honor, may we approach?
Judge Baca: Certainly.
Judge Baca: The objection is overruled.
Tomas Benavidez: Mr. Bent did you pay $15,000.00 to each of the other three ministers to
Wayne Bent: No sir. What is the basis of this question? How is it related?
Tomas Benavidez: You’ve answered it, thank you.
Judge Baca: Mr. Bent you answered the question, thank you.
Defense witness Allaso Travesser, Direct and Cross
Emilio Chavez: Ok. And at these meetings do people ever talk about things that they may be thinking about?
Allaso Travesser: Thinking about?
Emilio Chavez: For example, has there ever been a time or maybe somebody came during one of these meetings and said, "I’m thinking of going and building a homestead."
Allaso Travesser: No... not really that’s... not really what the meetings are about.
Emilio Chavez: Ok. Is there times during, being on the land, where people have done that in front of everybody?
Allaso Travesser: Well I don’t, I don’t recall any.
Emilio Chavez: What if somebody did say that... Strike that. I apologize. Do you know Tim Bowman?
Allaso Travesser: I do, yes.
Emilio Chavez: Did you ever witness him saying that in front of anybody?
Allaso Travesser: If I did I don’t remember it.
Emilio Chavez: If somebody did ask to do something outside of the group, how does Michael respond generally to that?
Defense Re-direct of Wayne Bent
Ms. Montoya: Now, let’s be clear, since the State brought up seven virgins or seven messengers, the fact that the word, virgins, is used... Were they, was the pouring out of the seven plagues intended to be a sexual experience?
Wayne Bent: No. Probably more accurately, seven messengers is correct, seven angels. And the reason virgins came in was most of those who poured out, or who came to me and said that they were one of the angels happened to be virgins. So we called them seven virgins and then seven messengers after that because there weren’t really seven virgins that poured it out.
Ms. Montoya: Ok, so the purpose wasn’t to defile or sacrifice any virgins?
Wayne Bent: No, no, no.
Ms. Montoya: Ok. And this was a religious ceremony?
Wayne Bent: Yes.
Prosecution OpeningAnd this, in the face of Judge Baca's announcement before the trial began that this trial would be conducted ONLY on events that happened "on a date certain":
Tomas Benavidez: ...you’ll hear testimony that the defendant wanted to have seven virgins pour out the seven plagues, who'll be messengers for the end of the world.
1Tr12 16-18Our accusers, some of them dissatisfied and offended ex-members, painted a picture of the events in our community's experience that was rife with sexual overtones, when in the actual events themselves, and among the people involved, there were none whatsoever. The insinuation of such evil in the face of what we who were there experienced as sacred, I am sure made the angels weep. Such insinuations and accusations didn't reveal anything about the actual events themselves. Rather what they revealed was the character of those doing the telling.
COURT: We’re having a trial on a date certain and on things that happened on that date certain. That’s what I intend to have a trial on.
Throughout the trial, the State's presentation of Mr. Bent as an oppressive authority figure who forced young girls to have sexual experiences with him, was continually eroded by the witnesses' own testimony until the State had to concede that, indeed, this experience of the girls' was not sexual.
Prosecution SummationIn order to procure a conviction, therefore, the State was forced into a corner — by the strength of the testimony of the witnesses — and reduced to asserting that Mr. Bent's hand must have bumped up against the illegal part of the young woman's upper torso while he and she were engaged in a religious healing experience.
Emilio Chavez: The next aspect that we’re looking at, that you’ve heard continually through the trial is, "Was this for sexual gratification?" Another misconception. This case is not about sexual gratification.
Prosecution SummationThe court then punished Mr. Bent for this imagined "crime" by sentencing him to what amounts to a life sentence for him — 18 years (8 suspended). Convicting Mr. Bent did not establish that he actually was guilty, but what it did do is speak volumes about New Mexico's "justice" system and the overactive imaginations and prejudices of the prosecution, judge and jury.
http://strongcity2.info/trial/prosecution_summation1.html 5Tr19 24,25 to 20 1-4
Emilio Chavez: ……if you remember Mr. Bent’s testimony on L.S., he said, "I was really careful and I put my hand on her sternum." You had the opportunity to observe these two girls. They’re little small girls. You saw Mr. Bent’s hand. You cannot put your hand on somebody’s sternum, on a woman’s sternum, without touching the breast.
Wayne Bent was anointed by God for a purpose. Some people have recognized this and some have not. In every generation there have been "holy men" who were similarly anointed for the purpose of revealing unpopular truth and exposing the deceit and corruption behind the facade of "righteousness" in human affairs. For the most part, none of these anointed men have been presumed innocent by the societies they exposed. Mr. Bent's anointing has likewise brought to completion the purpose for which it was given — that of exposing a corrupt and evil system that elevates winning over honesty, and lies over truth. The New Mexico court system has falsely, and fatally, judged his divine anointing as criminal.
I have known Wayne Bent since 1989, and in all the time I have known him, I have never witnessed him stepping outside the confines of moral integrity or fidelity to God. Rather, his steps have followed a straight and narrow path, even when, or should I say especially when, it cost him personally. He has operated from an internal reference point unlike any other human being I have ever met. I have never seen him swayed from his integrity by persuasion, personal advantage or threat. His word has always been honorable and trustworthy, and he takes everyone else seriously, and with careful regard, giving their words and actions their full weight, no matter who it is.
On December 8, the first day of the trial, the judge stated, "I'll strike her testimony and not permit her to testify," regarding three of us that were on the Defense's witness list. He also said that my testimony seemed "unrelated and didn’t go directly to the issues at hand in this matter..." But I believe it was very relevant, in that in April of 2000 I came to New Mexico with my young daughters who were 16 and 12 at the time, to live on what came to be known as "the new land" along with Mr. Bent and the rest of the church family. At the time, we lived right next door to him and both girls visited him freely.
Pastor Wayne Bent, as we knew him prior to his anointing, was faithful and kind and conducted himself above reproach. But when Messiah appeared in him fully in July of 2000, a love began radiating from him that was intuitively sensitive and pure, and was felt by all, young and old alike. He treated each one as their own person, uniquely relating to each individual's needs and heart cry, and he did nothing without receiving specific leading from God in ministering to each one.
All the children in the land sensed this change in him. They felt the love of God pouring out of him for them. They were drawn to him; they felt safe in his presence, and they would run to him and hug him, wanting to be with him and interact with him whenever they had the opportunity. They knew they were being loved unconditionally. He understood the extreme importance of nurturing, physical touch, vital for the balanced development of every child's emotional health, and every child in the land was uplifted by this wholesome support.
A few months after moving to the land, my daughters lost their father through death. At my request, and the girls' desire, Mr. Bent accepted the responsibility of being a father to these now fatherless girls. They were free to go to him day or night and pour out their hearts, knowing, as any child would know of a godly father, that they would be received, heard, and loved unconditionally. They couldn't have had a more understanding father and confidante, a wiser counselor or more faithful guardian of their welfare of body and soul. His presence was a safe place where there was complete absence from all of the painful things considered by the world to be common, "normal" human interactions such as impatience, harshness, contention, being taken for granted, or anything that would have intruded into their personal, sacred sovereignty of soul.
The selfless nature of Mr. Bent's anointing cares deeply for each and every individual, regarding each one as the son of God. This is how my children were considered by him. This is how all of us are considered by him. This is the one to whom God sent L.S. and A.S. for healing.
Because of the charges and conviction of Criminal Sexual Contact of a Minor in this case, New Mexico vs. Wayne Bent, I offer that if Mr. Bent were to be as the State of New Mexico has painted him, and lived his life as most human men do, driven by lust and self-interest, he would have had plenty of opportunity to take advantage of my daughters, attractive and vulnerable as they would have been to a man of that kind of low character. As it was, they were safer in the care of Mr. Bent than any other place they could have been. I am bearing witness to you today, and God is my witness, that all of his interactions with them, including times of personal spiritual healing, have been above reproach, given, as they were, of God.
The State of New Mexico has made a grave but calculated error regarding Mr. Bent which must, and will, by way of divine retribution, be righted. Our legal appeal on behalf of Mr. Bent is offering New Mexico a final opportunity to see to it that true justice is done in this case; the opportunity to acknowledge, by action, the freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, and sovereignty of soul which it professes to honor for every individual.
"What you have done to the least of these, you have done it unto Me."
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