- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 17, 2016

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A cult leader convicted of sex crimes in 2008 has been released early from a New Mexico prison after being diagnosed with skin cancer.

A Department of Corrections spokeswoman says 74-year-old Wayne Bent was released on supervised parole last week.

Bent was sentenced to a decade in prison for sexual behavior with two teenage girls at his northern New Mexico compound. Bent and his followers argue that the three were participating in a spiritual healing rite.

A judge ordered Bent’s release for health reasons, with the requirement that he have no involvement with children, undergo sex-offender treatment and register as a sex offender.

Bent’s attorney John McCall said in a hearing last month that Bent could lose his hearing without an ear operation scheduled for early March.

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Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, https://www.sfnewmexican.com

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