Defense cross Elsa Sayer, plus prosecution re-direct

Michael Travesser / Wayne Bent at sunset

Cross examination of Elsa Sayer plus re-direct - Sara Montoya, Defense attorney, Tomas Benevidez for the State

Ms. Montoya: Mrs. Sayer, you said you were involved in the church for sixteen years.

Elsa Sayer: About, yes.

Ms. Montoya: How old were you when you first got involved with the church?

Elsa Sayer: I was sixteen.

Ms. Montoya: Were you married at that time?

Elsa Sayer: Yes.

Ms. Montoya: So at the age of sixteen you were already married?

Elsa Sayer: Yes.

Ms. Montoya: Why did you join the church?

Elsa Sayer: At the time, I believed it was right.

Ms. Montoya: And you say you became involved through your husband and mother in law?

Elsa Sayer: They introduced me to it, yes.

Ms. Montoya: What religion were you raised in prior to that?

Elsa Sayer: Seventh Day Adventist.

Ms. Montoya: Now when there was a separation between the boys and the girls at the land, how old were the children at that time?

Elsa Sayer: To the best of my knowledge around ten or eleven.

Ms. Montoya: And I’m talking about your girls were ten and eleven. What about the other children?

Elsa Sayer: I don’t remember the ages of all the other children.

Ms. Montoya: Is it possible that the reason the children weren’t playing together is because they reached an age where their interests were diverse? They’d grown past playing childhood games with each other.

Elsa Sayer: No.

Ms. Montoya: So you’re saying they were directed to be separated?

Elsa Sayer: The boys and girls.

Ms. Montoya: And what was that separation based on?

Elsa Sayer: So they wouldn’t explore... So that the boys and girls wouldn’t go off in the woods and kiss. That’s my best description.

Ms. Montoya: So there was a logical explanation for separating them, correct?

Elsa Sayer: Yes.

Ms. Montoya: Ok, let’s talk about the schooling. You’re saying, schooling came after God?

Elsa Sayer: Yes.

Ms. Montoya: Did the powers that be, or whoever it was that was in charge of the money at the land, did they pay for home schooling books?

Elsa Sayer: We bought our own books with our own money.

Ms. Montoya: Ok. And were they certified home schooling curriculum?

Elsa Sayer: Yes.

Ms. Montoya: Ok.

Elsa Sayer: At least to my knowledge.

Ms. Montoya: And who home schooled your girls?

Elsa Sayer: I did.

Ms. Montoya: So you were in charge of home schooling... Was each parent in charge of home schooling their own children? Is that how that worked?

Elsa Sayer: Yes.

Ms. Montoya: Ok. So who told you not to home school them?

Elsa Sayer: It’s not that I didn’t want it. I didn’t want them to stop doing school. They wouldn’t do it.

Ms. Montoya: But, you were their mother, right?

Elsa Sayer: But, if God told them not to do school, I couldn’t overrule that.

Ms. Montoya: And you said everyone on the land was married to Wayne.

Elsa Sayer: Was asked to be married to him.

Ms. Montoya: To Wayne.

Elsa Sayer: To the spirit in him.

Ms. Montoya: Known as, what was the spirit in him known as?

Elsa Sayer: The second... the spirit of God. I’m confused a little bit.

Ms. Montoya: You called him two names. You called Michael and you called him Wayne. So who are people supposed to be married to?

Elsa Sayer: Oh, they were supposed to be married to Michael. That’s the new name.

Ms. Montoya: And is there a difference between Wayne Bent and Michael Travesser?

Elsa Sayer: They’re the same person.

Ms. Montoya: The same human person, correct?

Elsa Sayer: The same person.

Ms. Montoya: So you don’t see a difference between the spirit of Michael and Wayne Bent?

Elsa Sayer: No.

Ms. Montoya: And then you said, you learned after the fact that your daughters had laid naked with Wayne Bent, correct?

Elsa Sayer: Yes.

Ms. Montoya: If I told you that it was immediately announced to the church that this had occurred would that surprise you?

Elsa Sayer: I wasn’t at the meetings, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he told them, but I wasn’t there.

Ms. Montoya: In fact, you weren’t even living on the land at that time were you?

Elsa Sayer: No.

Ms. Montoya: The girls were living on the land, weren’t they?

Elsa Sayer: Yes.

Ms. Montoya: So they told other people who were available to them correct?

Elsa Sayer: I wasn’t there, I don’t know.

Ms. Montoya: You said after A.S. laid naked with Wayne Bent, she felt like committing suicide. A.S. had problems prior to that, did she not?

Elsa Sayer: Not that I was aware of.

Ms. Montoya: But again, you weren’t there, were you? Did Mr. Wayne Bent ever have a meeting with you to tell you that A.S. had problems and point that out to you?

Elsa Sayer: Not that I remember.

Ms. Montoya: Ok. You say that this situation has affected the relationship with your husband, but in fact you and your husband stayed together the entire time, did you not?

Elsa Sayer: We did stay together, yes.

Ms. Montoya: Some people didn’t, correct because they weren’t in harmony with one another?

Elsa Sayer: Some people didn’t stay together.

Ms. Montoya: But, you did with your husband.

Elsa Sayer: Yes.

Ms. Montoya: And then you said you would tell the girls to do the dishes and if it was on their heart to go for a walk they’d take the walk first. But they did eventually come back and do the dishes, correct?

Elsa Sayer: Yes, and I think I stated that. Maybe not clearly.

Ms. Montoya: And so, the children weren’t disobeying your directives, they might put them off, but they still did what you asked them to do, correct?

Elsa Sayer: Not always.

Ms. Montoya: So, give me an instance when they did not obey you?

Elsa Sayer: (long pause) There was a time when my husband was working in Mora and I wanted the girls to go with me, and we went to talk to Michael about it. And it was on their heart to stay and Michael suggested that, because it was on their heart to stay, that they should stay. And they stayed. And at that time, I believed Michael was God and so anything I said would be wrong, because he was God, or Messiah, or had the spirit of Christ.

Ms. Montoya: And this period of time when your husband was working in Mora where were you living?

Elsa Sayer: Our trailer was on the land.

Ms. Montoya: And where were the girls living?

Elsa Sayer: With us in our trailer.

Ms. Montoya: And when did this occur?

Elsa Sayer: I don’t remember the year or the date.

Ms. Montoya: And you were asked by the District Attorney, if you reported Michael’s touching to the police. And you did do that, to Colleen Johnston, correct?

Elsa Sayer: Yes.

Ms. Montoya: How long after you learned about the touching was it that you reported to Colleen Johnston?

Elsa Sayer: I don’t remember the exact date, but it was months.

Ms. Montoya: Months, is that what you said, I’m sorry.

Elsa Sayer: Yes. Yes, sorry.

Ms. Montoya: Did you leave the church of your own volition or were you disfellowshipped from the church?

Elsa Sayer: I feel I was disfellowshipped.

Ms. Montoya: Do you know why?

Elsa Sayer: Because I didn’t have the same spirit as Michael.

Ms. Montoya: And you mentioned CYFD. There were CYFD... there was a CYFD, involving L.S. correct and a case involving her?

Tomas Benevidez: Your Honor, may we approach?

Judge Baca: Yes.


Ms. Montoya: Were there other instances where you called the police to report molestation of your daughters, one or both of them?

Tomas Benevidez: Your Honor, I object.

Judge Baca: Alright, what is your objection?

Tomas Benevidez: Relevance.

Judge Baca: Ok. Do you have an extended answer?

Ms. Montoya: Yes sir.

Judge Baca: Ok. Why don’t you approach again?


Judge Baca: Alright. Ms. Montoya you may proceed.

Ms. Montoya: Mrs. Sayer, is it your testimony here today that you are angry with Wayne Bent?

Elsa Sayer: I feel betrayed. I don’t know about anger.

Ms. Montoya: And the betrayal stems from what?

Elsa Sayer: The incidents with my daughter.

Ms. Montoya: Which daughter?

Elsa Sayer: Daughters I should say, sorry.

Ms. Montoya: Ok, thank you nothing further.

Judge Baca: Alright, redirect?

Tomas Benevidez: Thank you your Honor. If I may have one moment? Ms. Sayer, Ms. Montoya asked you a question regarding boys and girls being separated on the land.

Elsa Sayer: Yes.

Tomas Benevidez: Do you recall a meeting when Mr. Bent said that the boys and girls should not direct their affections towards each other?

Elsa Sayer: The meeting was actually to the whole congregation, I believe, but specifically towards the teenage girls. The content was that if they were feeling like they needed to go out get a boyfriend,they could direct their affections on him, on Wayne, Michael.

Tomas Benevidez: Ok, thank you. No further questions your Honor.

Judge Baca: Alright. Is this witness excused, permanently excused, or subject to recall?

Tomas Benevidez: Yes, the State... we would permanently release her.

Judge Baca: Alright, Ms. Montoya.

Ms. Montoya: Your Honor, she appears on our witness list and we would appreciate it if she would leave contact information so she can be recalled at a later time.

Judge Baca: Alright, then you are excused at this point and you may be called to testify at a later point in time. Just notify Ms. Montoya’s staff.

Tomas Benevidez: Your Honor, they can contact her through us.

Judge Baca: Ok. Let’s do that. Alright, just leave your contact information with the District Attorney’s staff. Alright. You may step down. Thank you for your testimony.

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